Lockdown results in arrest

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Lakeland High School students went into a &uot;lockdown&uot; mode early Thursday afternoon after a 19-year-old former student allegedly threatened to bomb the school.

Suffolk Police have charged Fredrick T. Gallegos with one count of threatening phone calls and one count of threatening to bomb. Police Information Officer Lt. Debbie J. George, said he allegedly made threats against the principal and threatened to bomb the school. Gallegos was arrested without incident in the 200 block of Nansemond Avenue.

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A Lakeland student, 17-year-old Stacie Antoinette Bradley, said she feels the school handled the situation well, but that she would have felt better if she’d known there wasn’t &uot;some crazy person with a gun&uot; in the hallway.

&uot;We didn’t know what was going on because our principal, Mr. Whitely, just announced that we were going into a code red,&uot; said Bradley. &uot;Mr. Whitley said it was not a drill. We were a little scared, but the drills helped us to know where to go and what to do.&uot;

Bradley, the daughter of Lisa Ann and John Anthony &uot;Tony&uot; Bradley, said the students were confined to the classrooms and told not to get near the windows and doors during the lockdown.

&uot;Then, at 2:45, they began taking us out a class at a time,&uot; said the student. &uot;If you drove or rode with another student, or walked to school, they wouldn’t let you leave until after all the buses were loaded. We still didn’t know what had happened, but we figured it was another type of situation.

According to Suffolk Public Schools Information Officer Bethanne Bradshaw, the call came in around 1:40 p.m., about one-half hour before students were to be dismissed. According to her, the calls were &uot;seriously threatening.&uot;

Bradshaw added that the school and students were on immediate lockdown status as a safety precaution.

&uot;We had teachers and staff and police officers in place,&uot; she said. &uot;It made the students late in dismissal, but their safety is our first concern.&uot;

Bradshaw said dismissal was actually about 45 minutes late, however, students were released from classrooms with extra security in place. Elementary buses were also late and several parents called to complain.

&uot;We’re sorry for the delays, but that’s what you do when it comes to keeping the kids safe,&uot; said Bradshaw. When events began to unfold, students were advised that the school was in a lockdown mode and through previous drills they were prepared for the situation, she said.