Police charge Garner man with call that prompted Wake Tech lockdown

kjahner@newsobserver.com, ajames@newsobserver.comJanuary 24, 2012 

An officer stands guard as Wake Technical staff and students are released after a lockdown was lifted at the community college. Law enforcement officials said they got a call about a man with a gun on school property just before 9 a.m.

SHAWN ROCCO — srocco@newsobserver.com

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Garner man with making a domestic threat that led to the 90-minute lockdown of Wake Tech Community College’s main campus this morning.

The threat made by Franklin Delano Rawls Jr., 27, was “under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe the threat was likely to be carried out,” the arresting officer wrote in the report.

The Wake Tech student he allegedly threatened told Wake Tech Security, who alerted the sheriff’s office around 9 a.m. there was a man on campus who may have a gun. The 13-building campus at 9101 Fayetteville Road in South Raleigh was shut down – with all classrooms locked and no one allowed on or off the premises – while authorities investigated.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens said the threat was domestic, and not a threat to Wake Tech. No gun was found on campus, she said. Initially, Wake Tech announced on its website that its main campus would be closed until 1 p.m., with no one allowed on or off campus until then. After the lockdown was lifted at 10:30 a.m., classes resumed a normal schedule at 1 p.m.

Rawls is being held at the Wake County jail, his bail set at $500.

Wake Tech spokeswoman Laurie Clowers said he had enrolled at Wake Tech but never registered for classes.

Clowers said that when the threat was reported, the emergency alert system sent text, email and voice messages to its roughly 2,000 student, faculty and employees who had signed up for the service. Also, all Wake Tech computers have an internal pop-up message appears on the screen, she said, and a text goes out to all senior administrators so they could get into touch with their departments and deans.

Meanwhile law enforcement officers swept the campus’ buildings to ensure the security of the building.

The incident was the second time in this school year that Wake Tech has used its lock-down procedures. Its north campus was locked down when someone reported seeing an armed man in the area. The north campus is located near an area used for hunting.

Jahner: 919-829-4822

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