UPDATE: Three Charlottesville City Schools were locked down Tuesday afternoon for nearly two hours after officials discovered a “credible threat” to student safety.
Students at each school have now been dismissed without incident, though police say officers will remain at each campus for the rest of the week.
Neither City Schools nor Charlottesville Police have said what the threat was, only that a person was found trespassing at Buford Middle School who has “a possible connection” to Greenbrier Elementary School and Charlottesville High School.
The person police suspect of trespassing is a 22-year-old Albemarle County man named Dionte Ruffin. Ruffin was not apprehended Tuesday afternoon, and police said he is wanted on “unrelated charges.”
A police spokesperson did not immediately respond to Charlottesville Tomorrow’s questions about what made the threat credible and how the suspect was connected to the three schools.
This is the second lockdown this year at Buford Middle School. The first time was the result of a threatening call made to Charlottesville police. That call ended up being a hoax.
Students at Buford on Tuesday had mixed reactions to the lockdown. The instructions to remain in their classrooms came over the intercom, with no explanation, said Simeon Jenkins, a seventh grader.
The last time the school locked down, the nerves were getting to Jenkins, he said. But today was just another day for him. Jenkins said he looked forward to it all being over so he could enjoy the movie his class was watching.
“Now it’s like, well let’s sit down and get through it,” he said.
Another student, who declined to give her name, missed the initial announcement so was surprised when she was told to go into lockdown.
“It was a lot,” she said, given how long the lockdown lasted.
PREVIOUSLY: Three Charlottesville City Schools were on lockdown this afternoon after someone was found trespassing near Buford Middle School. All students and staff are safe, according to City Schools.
Buford Middle School went into lockdown status around early afternoon, according to Charlottesville Police Department’s Twitter account. The lockdown was lifted shortly after, but the district is keeping students inside until the end of the school day. Currently, there are no threats inside Buford, according to a City Schools release.
Police have not said who the trespasser was or what about them prompted the lockdown. It is also unclear if police have taken that person into custody.
“I’m waiting for confirmation from those at the scene,” said Kyle Ervin, a spokesperson for CPD. “Officers are staying there until they know for certain there is no possible threat.”
Police said they suspected a possible connection between the unnamed trespasser and Charlottesville High School and Greenbrier Elementary School and subsequently sent officers to those schools. The district is keeping students inside for the rest of the day in those schools as well.
Police will be present at dismissal at the three schools as an added safety measure, said City Schools.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
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