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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Quick response to threat at local school

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shelbyville police rushed to Thomas Magnet School when a man allegedly made threats in front of office staff Wednesday.

Tyrone L. Watts, 43, of Tullahoma allegedly threatened to return with a gun after school personnel refused to let him and his wife, the mother of his stepson, check the child out early.

The request was denied because the child's biological father had not supplied a letter of permission, Shelbyville police said.

Watts was charged with filing a false report and posted $10,000 bond.

Alleged threats

An enraged Watts said to his stepson, "I will go and get an AK-47 and come up in here and shoot everybody and then kill myself," office workers told Sgt. James Wilkerson.

"The office personnel were alarmed and frightened when he made the statement...and immediately notified Mindi DeWitt," the school's principal, Wilkerson said in his report.

Police were dispatched to a call of an "angry parent" at approximately 2 p.m., records show.

Watts initially was calm when talking to DeWitt, police said, but became angry, said he has a doctor's appointment next week and if the diagnosis is bad, he would "return to Thomas School and take care of business."

Watts has been convicted of multiple felonies and is not allowed to possess a firearm, police said.

Charge explained

A false report charge is a class C felony, SPD Detective Sgt. Brian Crews said. It is considered more serious than a misdemeanor charge such as disturbing the peace.

Tennessee state code describes the charge.

"It is unlawful for any person to: Intentionally initiate or circulate a report of a past, present, or impending bombing, fire, or other emergency, knowing that the report is false or baseless knowing:

(A) It will cause action of any sort by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with those emergencies;

(B) It will place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or

(C) It will prevent or interrupt the occupation of any building, place of assembly, form of conveyance, or any other place to which the public has access."

"The actions of the defendant caused the faculty to reasonably fear imminent serious bodily injury, disrupted the school, and led to a law enforcement response," Crews said. "Threats such as his will be taken seriously and dealt with in a serious manner."