Second bomb threat at PMHS, but security cameras that could have helped identify suspect not working

Published 5:03 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A second bomb threat in as many days locked down Picayune Memorial High School for a little more than an hour on Tuesday.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Picayune Municipal Separate School District Asst. Superintendent Brent Harrell said police were called after a note containing a bomb threat was found close to a restroom.

“We had a repeat of yesterday. A bomb threat was found … a search was conducted, and all buildings were cleared,” Harrell said.

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Harrell said the note was found a few minutes before noon, and students were evacuated while Picayune Police and Fire Department officials searched the buildings and grounds. Students returned to their regular class schedule about 10 minutes before 1 p.m.

Harrell said he thought the police department has one or more suspects in mind, but would not say if Tuesday’s bomb threat was made by the same individual(s) who made a separate threat on Monday.

“I can’t answer if they were done by the same person. I have no idea why they did this,” Harrell said.

The district’s school board was meeting nearby when the threat was reported. Harrell and district Superintendent Dean Shaw told the board members of the threat, and informed board members that the school’s security cameras were not functioning in the area near the restroom where the threats had been found.

School board member Harvey Miller said the non-functioning cameras were not excusable.

“Every time we have a problem, the cameras (in that area) are not working,” Miller said.

The school board made the decision to seek a new vendor for the security cameras.

Monday’s threat was found around 1 p.m., written on a wall in a boys’ restroom at the high school. The building was searched, and no explosive devices were found. Students returned to their classes around 2 p.m. Monday.

A press release from the Picayune Police Department states that a bomb threat is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine.

Anyone with any information regarding the bomb threats should contact the Picayune Police Department at (601) 798-7411 or the Criminal Investigation Division at (601) 798-0374.