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Southern Locked Down Today After “Perceived Threat”


The campus of Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennesee – including the local elementary, middle school and high schools – was locked down for two hours this afternoon after campus safety officials were alerted to a perceived threat.

A former Southern University student, James Gaines, was detained at the Collegedale Police Department. Gaines had made the threats shortly after noon at Chattanooga State Community College, because he was upset at a delay in getting paperwork from Southern.

But Gaines had not been on Southern’s campus, no shots were fired (contrary to some rumors), and no one was injured, local police told an evening press conference.

Campus safety officials followed security procedures, beginning just after 12pm, while the threat was being investigated. Outside doors were locked and announcements were made on campus asking students and staff to stay inside and away from windows. Teams of armed police searched the campus. The lockdown was lifted just before 2:30pm when police determined the campus was not in danger.

But during the two-hour lockdown, when information was scarce and parents watched for news of their children, rumors flew and many media outlets covered the story, including local TV news (who sent crews for live coverage), the Chattanooga Times Free Press, and even USA Today. ANN also published a story.

Photo: Ryan Haas

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