A 16-year-old white male is in custody after a firecracker type device was found in his backpack this morning, resulting in the evacuation of Worth County High School.
Investigator Kenneth Washington with the Sylvester Police Department told The Tifton Gazette during a phone interview that this device was found in the student’s backpack after a teacher saw him and another student exchanging a pill. In the process of searching the backpack for additional pills, the device was located.
A school resource officer was called to retrieve the device.
Washington said a call about the incident came in to the SPD at 9 a.m. The SPD, along with the Worth County Sheriff’s Office and the city and county fire department, responded to the high school. Once they were on the scene, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was contacted to come out and examine the device, which is now in their possession. Washington noted the Marine Corps Logistics Base was also contacted and willing to help if needed.
He said the student also admitted to having another device similar to the firecracker-type device that was found in his backpack, at his home. The second device was located at the student’s home and retrieved by the GBI from "off of the refrigerator."
Washington said the high school was evacuated and students were taken to the middle school. After officials checked the high school for additional devices and it was cleared, the students were allowed back into the school after 10:30 a.m. Washington said there were no injuries or panic.
He explained the device located on the student was off-white, 6-7 inches long and the diameter was the size of a medicine bottle. He added it was homemade with gun powder in it, wires and a paper fuse. He described it as being like a giant firecracker. He said the device wouldn’t have caused any damage to the school building; however, it could have caused some type of injury to someone if they were close enough.
Washington said he doesn’t believe the student’s intention was to cause harm to anyone. “He was just fascinated by the device,” he commented. However, he did note that officials haven’t spoken to the student about his reasons for having the device.
When asked about charges, Washington said the student could be charged with possession of an explosive device while at a public school, as well as disruption of a public school. He will go before the Department of Juvenile Justice.
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.