Wednesday morning bomb threat at Natchez High School, Early College remains under investigation

Published 9:51 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

NATCHEZ — The Department of Homeland Security is still working to find out who threatened to bomb Natchez High School and Natchez Early College on Wednesday morning.

Both schools have been cleared of the threat that came in an email to Natchez High school administrators after 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Sixth Judicial District Attorney Shameca Collins said if the person who made the threat is identified and convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said Department of Homeland Security is assisting Natchez Police and Adams County Sheriff’s Office to find the sender of the email.

“Currently it is under investigation,” he said Thursday morning.

A news release that Natchez Adams School District sent out in emails and posted on social media at approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday said law enforcement had been contacted immediately and informed parents that both campuses would be closed for the day.

The notice said buses had already been dispatched to pick up any students who were on campus and asked parents who drive their students to school to make arrangements to pick them up.

The evacuation affected approximately 700 students and 115 staff members, said NASD Public Engagement Coordinator, Ernest “Tony” Fields. They were able to return to school Thursday.

“This happened to us maybe four or five years ago. That is the last time I can recall,” Fields said. Fields added that it was unfortunate students had to lose a day of class because of “somebody being stupid.”

“It’s sad that we had to lose a whole day of instruction to something like that. We’re dealing with enough as it is with COVID,” he said.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said officers from NPD, ACSO, Rankin County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security searched the campuses with dogs.

As the threat was being investigated Wednesday morning, Natchez Police Officer, Corporal Quayshawn Dennard, was struck by an ACSO patrol vehicle in the intersection by Natchez High School. He is expected to recover, Daughtry said.

“He is good and should be released shortly to go home,” Daughtry said Wednesday afternoon. “He is in a little pain and has a headache but nothing broken. The CTs and everything looked good and that is good news.”

Patten said the deputy driving the vehicle had attempted to turn into the high school and didn’t see the officer in the intersection directing traffic.

“We’ve sent him home to gather himself,” Patten said of the deputy. “… It was chaotic because we have two schools out here with bomb threats and everybody trying to get to the scene. Unfortunately, that is what happened.”