Columbia High School (CHS) is installing metal detectors after an incident that ended with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office arresting two armed men at a football game Friday. The game was already under additional security after a Thursday shooting left a 12-year-old girl dead.
A deputy saw two males jumping a fence on their way into the south side of the Columbia stadium at a football game against Buchholz on Friday. Two deputies made contact with the suspects, 18-year-old Anthony Smith and 17-year-old Jeremy Scippio, and discovered Smith was carrying marijuana and both suspects had concealed firearms, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith became combative and deputies had to use force to secure him in the patrol car. Scippio was arrested without incident.
“I cannot stress enough how serious we take the safety of our schools. We will continue to be vigilant and hold people accountable who pose a threat to public safety,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a statement.
The football game was postponed after the first quarter due to lightning and concerns over the incident. It resumed on Saturday at Citizens Field in Gainesville after Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Shane Andrew raised concerns about continuing at the original venue, according to the Lake City Reporter.
“We’ve heard you talk about metal detectors over the last year, and we are ready to make that happen here at CHS,” Columbia principal Trey Hosford said in a video announcement on Facebook Sunday. “We know we have to do it, but to do that, a lot is gonna change with our school, and how we enter, and... just, logistically.”
CHS chose to have classes virtually on Monday while staff installed metal detectors and went over new security measures.
“Safety is number one. It’s a priority: it always has been and it always will be,” Hosford said.