SYKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ) –Threatening a Columbine incident, a Carroll County man faces charges after police say he forced a high school into a lockdown that lasted for hours.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on the man in custody and the charges he faces.
Police say Timothy Baker, 20, is the man responsible for putting South Carroll County High School on lockdown after threatening to turn the school into a Columbine.
The first threat came in just before 2:30 p.m. as classes were about to be let out on March 20. Three police departments swarmed the school.
“School officials received four additional calls, one of which threatened that students would be shot as they left the school,” said Col. Phil Kasten, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
The Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack received the sixth telephone call, during which the caller reported that he was the friend of a mentally unstable student that was planning to shoot South Carroll High School students.
Investigators say Baker made several threats to the school, sending parents into a panic.
“For me it’s more what’s running through their minds as they’re laying on the floor?” said a father.
Students were kept inside until 7 p.m. as officers searched the campus and building. K-9s, snipers and deputies spent hours combing the area.
After being held for five hours, students were finally released.
“It was just really serious, and we started freaking out,” one student said.
Police went to work on finding the prank caller.
“Investigators were able to trace the phone number. It was learned from investigation that all originated from the same phone number, all six calls,” Kasten said.
On this April Fool’s Day, Baker was denied bail and charged with making a threat of arson, school disturbance and possession of marijuana.
The Carroll County superintendent says the events of that day still affect his students.
“The effect of going on lockdown, being searched, laying on floors in classrooms doesn’t end when the students go home,” said Steve Guthrie, superintendent.
Baker told police he and a friend thought it would be funny to see the police response after their hoax.
The State’s Attorney for Carroll County says pranks like these not only cost the feeling of security but also taxpayers.
“Preliminary figures in regards to the restitution, and they continue to increase, is an excess of $10,000,” said Jerry Barnes, state’s attorney.
No one was injured during the lockdown.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office says more arrests and charges are pending.
Baker is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center without bail. Police say he does not own any firearms, and investigators do not believe he presented any danger to South Carroll High School, its students or faculty.
The investigation is ongoing.
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