Local law enforcement officers responded to a call from Sylvania High School about a suspicious person walking the hallways of the school Tuesday night.
DeKalb County Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson said some school faculty members and some 11th grade students were on campus to practice for the school’s annual “extravaganza” when the suspicious person was spotted.
According to Edmondson, the teachers and several students claimed that the unknown subject appeared to have a firearm with him.
Edmondson said after the 911 call was made, the faculty took appropriate action to place the students and the school on lockdown.
Edmondson said the first officer was on the scene within three minutes of receiving the call.
He said when officers arrived, all buildings on the school campus were searched and secured.
Once the scene was deemed safe, the students were released to their parents. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Sylvania Police Department, Henagar Police Department, Rainsville Police Department, Fort Payne Police Department, Alabama State Troopers, DeKalb County Drug Task Force, and DeKalb County Special Response Team all responded to the call.
Edmondson said, along with law enforcement personnel, DeKalb County Superintendent Dr. Jason Barnett, DeKalb County School Board member Matt Sharp and Sylvania Principal Wesley King also responded and stayed on the scene to assist law enforcement until the subject was in custody.
Edmondson said law enforcement then obtained a photo of the subject from the school surveillance system and released the image to the public for assistance in identifying the subject.
Edmondson said calls were received almost immediately after the release of the photo with information pertaining to the subject’s name and possible whereabouts.
Edmondson said the tips and subsequent investigation determined that the subject was Cole Joseph Barnes, 21, of Sylvania.
He said Barnes was located at his residence on Blue Pond Boulevard in Sylvania, just a couple of miles from the school.
According to Edmondson, when Barnes was located he was detained without incident for questioning to the situation at Sylvania School.
Edmondson said the investigation determined that the firearm in question was actually a pellet pistol. After the investigation was concluded, Barnes was arrested and charged with criminal trespass third menacing, and disorderly conduct. Barnes is currently being held in the DeKalb County Detention Center awaiting bond.
Edmondson thanked those who responded to the call. He said the departments work together to ensure the safety of DeKalb County residents.
“We appreciate every agency that responded to assist at Sylvania School,” Edmondson said. “We are thankful for a great working relationship with all surrounding agencies. The protection of our children is of the utmost importance to us at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.”