A report of a gun caused a lockdown on North Pike campuses and nearby Southwest Mississippi Community College on Tuesday morning and resulted in the arrest of one student.
The student was arrested just off-campus by Pike County sheriff's deputies, Chief Investigator Chris Bell said.
"He got wind people knew he had a firearm at the school," Bell said. "We arrested him a short distance away as he left the campus on foot."
The student did not threaten anyone with the weapon, an unloaded semi-automatic handgun, Bell said.
The youth is charged with one count possession of a firearm on a school campus, Bell said.
The student was transported to the Adams County Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to appear in Pike County Youth Court on Wednesday.
Sheriff Kenny Cotton said deputies responded to the school just before 10 a.m. and the situation was under control by 10:30.
Law enforcement officers from the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, McComb Police Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Mississippi Department of Transportation and Southwest Mississippi Community College campus police descended on the high school.
Meanwhile, parents worried about their children anxiously waited outside the school as deputies stood guard at an entrance.
North Pike School District Superintendent Dennis Penton said officials learned that a student brought a gun to school and left campus, prompting a lockdown of the high school and nearby North Pike lower and upper elementary school campuses, as well as Southwest Mississippi Community College.
SMCC was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure due to its proximity to North Pike, Bell said, adding that the suspect did not make any threats regarding the college.
“Law enforcement responded appropriately,” Penton said. “School officials took appropriate steps according to the safety plan and the lockdown continued as a precaution to make sure no other firearms were found.”
Bell said investigators are trying to determine why the student brought the gun to school. He said investigators have verified that the gun was not stolen.
Penton said the school holds several lockdown drills throughout the school year and students and staff acted appropriately during the scare.
“My opinion on any student with a firearm is the maximum penalty needs to be applied and that is incumbent on our judges,” Penton said.
The incident caused some disruption to voting in Tuesday’s general election, as the Regional Workforce Training Center at SMCC is a voting precinct and also was placed under lockdown for about 30 minutes, Circuit Clerk Roger Graves said.