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Lanier academy student charged with making threats

Facebook message referred to ‘Columbine,’ led to arrest

POSTED: September 9, 2014 7:46 p.m.
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Devon Major

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A Lanier Career Academy student has been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats.

No one was harmed and no other people are thought to be involved in the threats, according to officials.

The student, 18-year-old Devon Major, wrote Monday on Facebook, “lord please save me before o(sic) get the chopper out and make Columbine look childish.”

Chopper is a slang term for a machine gun.

Two teens on a shooting spree killed 13 people on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

On July 29, Major wrote, “LCA ganna suck (expletive deleted) Lord save me ima kill everyone.”

Major was taken into custody at 8:30 p.m. Monday and is being held with no bond.

According to a school district press release, Major is suspended from school and banned from all Hall County School District campuses, pending a disciplinary tribunal.

Gainesville police received a tip that a student had posted threats on social media, which they passed on to Lt. Earl Roach, coordinator of school safety and emergency response for the school district.

“The Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Hall County school system take these matters very serious and will not tolerate threats made at any level,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Nicole Bailes said in a prepared statement. “Investigators have determined that no other parties are involved in threats and that no student or faculty member was harmed.”

“The district will give full support to law enforcement in the prosecution of those charged with making these terroristic threats,” the district press release stated. “The Hall County School District takes all terroristic threats very seriously and will always respond swiftly and efficiently to ensure the safety and security of all children and staff members in our schools.”

Superintendent Will Schofield said he could not provide any additional details about the incident, referring calls to law enforcement officials.

“Any time an individual or a group makes a threat that we deem as serious against the students, we will act,” Schofield said. “Any time there’s a potential that a student could be in danger, that rises to the top of our priority list.”

In his statement on Facebook, Major complained that Lanier Career “ain a school” and “yall ain ganna graduate early.”

He said the school has too many students “to even get on a computer” and “there so much drama here.”

The Facebook status had received 12 likes and two comments — one featuring emoticons of guns and another that simply said “bang” — as of Tuesday afternoon.

Bailes said in an interview that making terrorist threats is a felony that could carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, but added that such a long sentence is not typical.

“You have to look at mitigating factors,” she said, including history and context.

She said the Sheriff’s Office has responded to threats against schools before, including bomb threats scrawled on bathroom walls.

“We don’t always get fortunate to identify the person behind them,” she said.

Bailes said she could not comment on whether Major was serious about the threat.

“We always err on the side of caution that they could or would follow through on threats,” she said.

Schofield said all threats against a school or its students are taken seriously by the district.

“I want the parents of Hall County to know that the school district puts the safety of its students first,” he said.



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