BCHS closed Friday after threat

A Tenth grade student at Burke County High School is under arrest in connection with threats to “shoot up” Cross Creek High School in Hephzibah. No connection to similar threats to BCHS has yet been established.

Sixteen-year-old Garrett Liles has been chared with making terroristic threats and disrupting public school and is being held in Richmond County.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Richmond County School Safety and Security (RCSS) regarding a “Yik Yak” message which stated, “I’m shootin’ up Cross Creek High School Monday. Be ready.”

By using telecommunication data, RCSS investigators were able to develop leads to the Burke County student. Subsequently, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office took the 16-year-old juvenile from BCHS to the Criminal Investigations Division for questioning. Once the parents were present, Liles was interviewed and subsequently admitted sending the threat.

Liles was transferred into the custody of the RCSS and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and later detained at the Regional Youth Detention Center.

Burke County High School was closed last Friday, Dec. 3, after similar threats were sent via the same social media app and by email, but those cases are still open and unsolved. The high school principal received an email Thursday, Dec. 2, which read, “This is a warning that I am plan to shoot the whole entire school up tomorrow. I already have my plan figured out but see you and the dead students tomorrow.” Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said this week that his office is “continuing to work with our local, state and federal partners to identify the person(s) responsible for the Yik Yak and email threats. Several businesses and community members have added to the reward offered by the sheriff’s office. As a result, it now stands at $4,000 for information leading to an arrest. BCSO is working with Burke County Public Schools to ensure a safe learning environment for our students, staff, faculty and community. We ask that all citizens remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity or pertinent information to school personnel or law enforcement.”

Tuesday morning, the BCSO conducted a sweep of Burke County High School, using dogs to detect any possible threats. Nothing was found during the search.

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