Copperas Cove police chief defends department response to incident at high school
By LYNETTE SOWELL
After a 16-year-old student was arrested at Copperas Cove High School on Monday for having a knife in his backpack, Copperas Cove Chief of Police Eddie Wilson took to social media after allegations of a “coverup” by both the police department and Copperas Cove Independent School District administration were discussed in different conversations that were shared, and then reshared, along with screenshots and other images and video on social media.
Although Lt. Kevin Miller with the Copperas Cove Police Department stated that the department responded to the Copperas Cove High School "for a student with a possible firearm," and that CCPD arrived on scene and CCISD Staff put the school on lockdown, that was not enough for some individuals, with parents and even students themselves claiming on social media that there were several scenarios associated with the incident, to include a hostage situation in a classroom, shots being fired, at least one ambulance on the scene and a reported airlift evacuation, to a varying number of individuals being detained and possible weapons that were being accounted for.
"During the investigation it was discovered a 16-year-old student had an illegal knife and not a firearm," Miller stated in an email on Monday afternoon. "He was detained and transported to the Copperas Cove Police Department. After the student was transported to the PD the school was taken off lockdown."
Also according to the police report for Monday, January 13, one juvenile was transported to the Bell County Juvenile Detention Center after being detained for “places weapons prohibited.”
However, on Tuesday Chief Wilson also shared his take on how the incident and actions by the department and school district unfolded, and addressed the social media uproar.
Wilson said that witnesses were located and questioned until the suspect was finally identified and located in a classroom, and that the suspect was never in possession of a firearm but instead had a six-inch survival knife, which is illegal to possess on campus.
As far as any coverup was concerned, Wilson addressed rumors ranging from two students with a gun, three students with a gun, an active shooter, hostages taken, students taken away by ambulance, and how the CCISD and the CCPD formulated a plan to cover up a shooting.
“These, along with other comments, have risen to the level of ridiculousness. There was no evidence of anyone firing a gun and to this point, we have produced no students or teachers identifying themselves as a witness to such events.
“I ask that any parent whose child might be a direct witness to a shooting be brought to our detectives as soon as possible so we can follow up on their information. There is much more to lose than gain in covering up a shooting if one did occur. If you believe this conspiracy, you’re giving us and the school district way too much credit. To think that we could get a number of police officers, students, teachers, and other witnesses to keep an event of that magnitude a secret is beyond imagination. Today we have detectives going through what seems to be an endless amount of social media comments regarding yesterday’s lockdown to make sure nothing is missed and to follow up on any relevant information. This is valuable time that’s being taken away from other important investigations.”
CCISD issued a press release shortly after 3 p.m. on Monday, in which it stated that the investigation is now closed, and that student discipline will be administered in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. The district also said that additional counselors and administrators worked on the high school campus Monday afternoon to provide support to students.
CCISD has a zero tolerance policy regarding weapons on campus and the district will prosecute students to the full extent allowed by law, said CCISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Burns.
“Clearly understand that we will always take the necessary steps to keep our school as safe as possible,” said Burns. “I recommend using this opportunity to speak with your child about immediately reporting any threats or suspicious behavior to school staff so we can address the concerns immediately.”
The district also stated that students resumed their normal class schedule on Monday at approximately 1 p.m.