Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove confirmed Thursday, September 29, during a joint press conference held with Cheatham County School District Public Relations Officer Tim Adkins, a Sycamore Middle School student brought a semi-automatic handgun with additional ammunition onto school property Wednesday, September 28, 2016, with the intent to shoot specific teachers.
According to Breedlove the student went to see Sycamore Middle School Guidance Counselor Molly Hudgens during his first period class. was alone with the student for approximately 45 minutes, during which time she was able to get the young man to admit, and show her, he had a loaded gun in the waistband of his pants, under his clothes.
As they talked, without him noticing, she alerted school administration and authorities by text on her cell phone. Initially the attempts were unsuccessful but her calm continuous efforts did eventually get an alert out.
The student told Hudgens he’d intended on shooting several teachers and an officer but wasn’t intending on shooting any students. Hudgens, having been trained how to handle active shooter encounters, was able to convince the student to giving her the gun.
Breedlove praised Hudgens for heroically diffusing a potentially deadly massive school shooting.
“She was an amazingly brave person to be in there that long with this young man. Through her training, she was able to get him to give her the gun, diffusing the whole situation,” stated Breedlove, “she is a hero.”
In a statement released by Cheatham County School District the students and staff member’s safety are their top priority.
Cheatham County School District’s Communications Director Tim Adkins stated all school personnel took the matter seriously, initiating procedures and the district’s safety plan was utilized properly.
Sycamore Middle School was placed on lock down and teachers were alerted to lock their classroom doors and not to allow anyone to leave or enter the classroom during Wednesday’s investigation.
Next door, Sycamore High School was alerted and placed on a standard safety precautionary lock out, during the investigation, which meant no one was allowed to leave or enter the school building until the investigation was completed at the middle school. Unlike the middle school students, the high school students were able to continue switching classes as normal.
After the loaded gun was safely secured and student in question taken into custody, Sycamore Middle School parents were notified of the lock down and that students and staff members were safe and unharmed.
During the time period of the lock down and lock out at the Sycamore schools, two Metro Davidson County Schools, Antioch and Glencliff High Schools were on lock down due to threats made by clowns on social media, against the Davidson County Schools, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This led students at Sycamore High School and middle school to question if clowns had made threats against the district schools or if clowns had been sighted locally. Several parents within the district received text messages, from their high school students, letting them know the schools were on lock out and asking if it was because of clowns. Tennessee is one of seven states issuing warnings about potential child predators posing as clowns.
Parents, students and administrators were shocked to learn a loaded weapon had been brought onto the middle school campus but relieved no one was harmed.
The student was taken to Williamson County Juvenile Detention Center where he will await another hearing, without bond, while the investigation continues and evaluations are conducted.
Breedlove did state the semi-automatic loaded weapon did come from the family home and no charges had been brought against the parents at this time.
At the closing of the press conference, Thursday, Adkins informed the press there weren’t any known additional threats to Cheatham County Schools and all schools were operating normal day-to-day operations.