Cairo High School was placed in safety mode Thursday morning when school officials were notified that a student on campus could be in possession of a firearm.
At approximately 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, Cairo High School Principal Chris Lokey reports that he was advised by members of the Grady County School System Police Department and the Cairo Police Department that a pair of C.H.S. students could be in possession of a Taurus 9mm handgun allegedly stolen the night before.
Under safety mode, teachers continue to teach, but students are required to remain in classrooms unlike a lockdown when classrooms are locked, teachers stop teaching and lights are dimmed.
According to Cairo Police, Jamal Marquaris Brown of 340 Sixth Ave. N.E, Apt. C18, reported that his Taurus 9mm handgun had been stolen from his apartment and there was no sign of forced entry. Brown told officers that he suspected two juveniles were responsible for the theft. The duo had visited his home on Wednesday night, Jan. 8, and Brown noticed the twosome looking at his handgun.
Brown identified the two suspects for city police, who then contacted Grady County School System Police. School resource officers and C.H.S. administrators immediately went to locate the students and interview them.
The first suspect was located and authorities discovered he was not in possession of the firearm, however, when administrators and school resource officers attempted to make contact with the second student, he fled.
School resource officers gave chase through the campus, nearby Housing Authority apartments and into the neighborhood north of the high school where Cairo Police joined the chase.
The student was apprehended in the area of Fifth Street S.E. and Second Avenue S.E. and taken into custody. A subsequent search of the nearby area revealed the stolen handgun underneath a utility trailer.
Authorities say the weapon was unloaded and they do not believe it was loaded while in the student’s possession on the high school campus.
C.H.S. Principal Lokey sent out an email alert and telephone bulletin to parents and guardians of high school students just after noon Thursday once the firearm had been seized and the suspect apprehended. He subsequently issued a full report via email and telephone bulletin to parents Thursday evening.
“Per Grady County Board of Education Police, both students involved in this incident are subject to go through the Grady County Board of Education disciplinary tribunal process. We will not tolerate weapons of any kind on our campus that might threaten a child’s safety. School administrators go into action immediately we have knowledge that a student might have a weapon of any sort on our campus,” Lokey said.
The high school principal is praising the quick work of the city police and school system police. “I would like to thank the Cairo Police Department and the Grady County School System Police Department for their swift action in responding to this incident. Because of their actions, Cairo High School is a safer place,” he said.
Principal Lokey also noted, “Children’s safety is our number one priority at Cairo High School.”
The students face charges of carrying weapons within school safety zones and at school.