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2 schools go into modified lockdown
Danville acts after rumors of escapee

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

Danville High School and Danville Middle School went into modified lockdown Tuesday on rumors that a convicted jail escapee was in the area.

Morgan County Chief Deputy Mike Corley said sheriff's deputies were looking for a prowler in the area but the Sheriff's Department did not advise the schools to go into lockdown.

Corley said police suspected the prowler was an escapee from another county, but that turned out not to be the case.

"We did catch the prowler, but it was not the escapee," Corley said. "It was a subject that we had two felony warrants for already."

Officials from the Morgan and Lawrence sheriff's departments and the Decatur and Hartselle police departments said they were not aware of having an escapee. High school Principal Gilmer Ellis said at least two teachers mentioned that someone in the community had told them that an escapee was in the area. A local day care also contacted the schools about the rumor.

Despite receiving no notice from local law enforcement, Ellis and Middle School Principal Gary Walker agreed to put the school under modified lockdown at about 10:30 a.m., locking all doors and ordering teachers and students to stay in their classrooms. Ellis said he proceeded without official notice because, even if the rumor wasn't true, the schools needed to hold a lockdown drill.

Daily reporters Seth Burkett, Kristin Bishop and Deangelo McDaniel contributed to this report.

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