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Still no arrests in robbery that resulted in lock-down of local schools

Principals of both Washington Middle School and Northside Elementary School ordered the two schools locked down following a robbery at a nearby convenience store just before noon Monday.
Butler’s Grocery, located at 1390 M.L. King Jr. Ave. S.W., across from Washington Middle School, was robbed Monday morning resulting in school officials locking down the two nearby schools.
Cairo Police Investigator Johnny Myers says two black males wearing makeshift masks and gloves, but not armed, entered the store at 11:51 a.m. while no other customers were present.
One of the bandits grabbed the female clerk from behind and covered her mouth with his hands as the other robber took the money from the cash register.
The suspects fled the store heading north. According to the police investigator, eyewitnesses who saw the men flee went into the store, discovered the robbery had taken place and attempted to follow the suspects, but lost track of them. Police say the suspects were last seen leaving on foot. The clerk has described the suspects as teenagers or in their early 20s and short. Physical evidence left at the scene is being processed in hopes of developing more leads, according to Investigator Myers.
After being notified of the robbery, WMS Principal Kermit Gilliard and Northside Principal Gloria Fuller ordered their campuses locked down. Southside Elementary Principal Cheryl Harrison, as a precaution, ordered the school’s exterior doors locked, but did not lock interior doors. She also notified teachers of the situation via email.
According to Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis, a lockdown means that all exterior doors are locked and no one is allowed to come in or exit the building. Hallways, playgrounds and the campus are cleared, and students and teachers are required to lock their classroom doors and stay inside the classroom until the lockdown is ended.
“Our first priority is to make sure the school is safe and all students are accounted for,” Dr. Pharis said. The superintendent says the lockdown was lifted approximately 30-40 minutes later when Cairo Police Department officials advised it was safe to do so.
Investigator Myers said late Tuesday that no arrests have been made in the case, but anyone with information regarding the robbery are asked to call police at 229-378-3096.

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