Gang threat elevates security at colleges and schools - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Gang threat elevates security at colleges and schools

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There is heightened security at Albany high schools and colleges after a warning of gang violence.

Officers increased patrols around Darton College, Albany State University, and all the public schools as a show of force to prevent any violence.

Darton College issued a mass emergency alert by phone after someone called the sheriff's office warning that two rival gangs had a big fight during an initiation last night. And in retaliation there would be a shooting at one of the schools. The Sheriff's Office took the threat seriously.

Throughout the day law enforcement cars from just about every agency in Albany patrolled the campuses at Darton College, Albany State University, and all the public high schools. Sheriff Kevin Sproul says he has no confirmation behind this morning's gang warning call, but he was taking no chances.

Sproul said "Make them aware of the information that we had gathered and heighten the alert. Just in case it was to go down to be prepared for it, or at least perpare the citizens as best we could."

Reportedly a gang fight last night between the Bloods and the Rattlers ended with some injuries, and in retaliation there would be shootings on campuses. Law enforcement made themselves very visible at the colleges and schools just in case. Darton issued their mass notification call about 9.

 Darton College Security Chief Jim Brackin said "We just want to be proactive and get the information out. We don't want to sit on it in case something happens."

Most Darton College students went to class as normal, but some left after the gang warning.

Darton Student Gabriel Lopez said "Everyone was freaking out about it in my math class. A lot of people not coming to classes."

Darton Student Toya said "Some people actually left class when they got the message."

At Albany High School the gang unit kept up a patrol. At Albany State University their police force was on high alert.

ASU Police Chief Roberson Brown Junior said "I stepped up security. Got out officers at different checkpoints with heavy weapons in case they are confronted by people with uzzi's and guns that should not be brought on our campus."

Albany State informed their faculty and staff about the warning, but did not send out a mass alert to students, saying they did not feel the threat rose to the level to issue one.

Sheriff Sproul says law enforcement will continue this heightened alert throughout the community tonight, and people should not stay away from the schools tomorrow.

 Sproul said "Oh no, they'll be protected. We've got everyone on heightened alert. This could be one of those situations that falls through the cracks and nothing ever happens. But we can't look at it from that standponit."

Sheriff Sproul says so far there has been no more communication or warning about gangs, and no incidents. He says no one should change their schedule tomorrow. Here at Darton College, all activities are going on as normal.

That caller  mentioned three cars, possibly from Atlanta, that law enforcers continues to look for .   A red Ford Mustang,  black G-M-C Denali,  and a red Ford Explorer.

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