UPDATED: Local law enforcement agencies investigate threat against local schools; one juvenile arrested

Published 2:30 pm Monday, May 6, 2024

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(Editor’s Note: This story is updated to include additional information provided by the Andalusia Police Department.)

Area law enforcement agencies responded to potential threats against area schools and have arrested one juvenile on charges of making a terrorist threat.

According to local law enforcement, the threats against one or more local schools — including Andalusia, Opp and Straughn — began on Sunday afternoon through posts on the social media platform, Snapchat. Andalusia Police Chief Paul Hudson said his department shared the information with the Opp Police Department, Covington County Sheriff’s Office, and local school officials. APD Chief Paul Hudson said local investigators worked the case until after 11 p.m. Sunday night.

As a result of the threat, Andalusia High School was placed on Code Yellow Monday morning, which is a heightened awareness status, calling for reduced campus movement, but continued teaching.

The OPD, APD, and the CCSO continued investigating the threat in an attempt to identify an individual associated with the Snapchat account, ultimately concluding the account was likely fictitious.

On Monday morning, an additional report was received indicating the possible presence of a firearm on the premises of Opp Middle School, according to the Opp Police Department. For the safety of its students, Opp City Schools placed all three of its campuses on lockdown.

Law enforcement personnel, including OPD officers and investigators and a specialized K-9 Unit from the Enterprise Police Department, conducted a search of the middle and high school campuses and no weapons were found.

The investigation led to the arrest of one juvenile who is being charged with making a terrorist threat. The juvenile was placed in the custody of Covington County Youth Services. Additional charges against the teen may be filed, according to officials.

“We take any and all threats seriously that are made to all city and surrounding schools,” Chief Hudson said. “Our officers will always coordinate with all surrounding departments to ensure the safety of all students.”

Opp officials expressed its gratitude for the cooperative effort between the various agencies that assisted with the investigation.

“The Opp Police Department extends its sincere appreciation to the Andalusia Police Department, Covington County Sheriff’s Office, Enterprise Police Department, Opp City Schools, Alabama Fusion Center, and the State Bureau of Investigation for their unwavering cooperation and support throughout this incident,” said Opp Police officials in a statement. “Ensuring the safety and security of our kids remains paramount and the collaborative efforts of law enforcement and educational institutions are instrumental in achieving this shared objective.”