Update: Alachua County Public Schools announced at 11:37 a.m. that law enforcement had given the all clear and nothing suspicious was found.
Our original story:
Newberry High School was evacuated Monday morning due to both bomb and sniper threats.
After emptying a third straight school day, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputies started clearing the buildings when a text came stating, “I’m going to shoot if you don’t make everybody clear west park. I see all of you. I have a sniper. I will shoot. RUN.”
ACSO spokesperson Cpt. Kaley Behl confirmed the text.
“This is why we are moving the kids from West Park and into the gym as a precaution,” Behl said. “We are placing deputies on the roof and have called out a helicopter.”
Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe, who is also a history teacher at Newberry High School, posted these comments on Facebook Monday:
“Last week, after the first threat, I sent an email to all three principals and offered to host a meeting to discuss how the City can assist in any future situations. I have met with Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr., and ASO is already working with the FBI. I have total faith in their ability to apprehend whomever is responsible for these threats. I want to extend my gratitude to the deputies who have been responding. They have been tremendously professional.”
In his statement, Marlowe continued to urge anyone who has information to share it with Newberry High School administrators and/or the ACSO.
Alachua County Public Schools sent the message out Monday morning at 9 a.m. and students were going to “West Park due to a bomb threat, but they will not be allowed to leave early unless signed out by an authorized parent/guardian. Students will return to class when law enforcement has completed a sweep of the campus and given the all clear.”
Newberry High received threats on Thursday and Friday morning last week. Both times, law enforcement cleared the school and found nothing suspicious.
This marks the seventh bomb threat in the district since the start of the school year. Buchholz High School, the largest school in the district, received four bomb threats between Aug. 19 and Sept. 7. Authorities arrested a Buchholz student they believe is responsible for at least two of the threats on Sept. 13.
Santa Fe College also briefly shut down due to a bomb threat on Sept. 14.
Anyone with information on the bomb and sniper threats are asked to contact the ACSO at (352) 955-1818. Tips can also be left anonymously with Crime Stoppers at (352) 372-7867. Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.