GREENSBORO, N.C. — The images of SWAT members, police, and sheriff's deputies surrounding Mount Tabor, their cars lining the streets around the school and neighborhood, it’s what we could see.
Investigators said 15-year-old student William Chavis Raynard Miller, Jr. was shot and killed by a fellow classmate Wednesday afternoon. The juvenile suspect is in custody.
What we couldn’t see was what was happing inside the school. How was the safety plan and lockdown being played out? What was taking place and when? What is the actual process?
2 Wants To Know asked Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page to describe the timeline of how clearing a school goes.
“When an SRO gets an alarm there is a threat, we're talking about an active shooter threat, the SRO goes to the threat and stops the threat, that's the responsibility. The SRO will then identify if there are any other threats to students and staff and begin by going room by room, closet-by-closet, and door-by-door and that takes time,” said Page.
That door-by-door process includes the team looking for students and staff, but they're also looking for any other weapons, threats, explosives. It’s a time-consuming process.
“Key thing, there's lot of parts moving and sometimes it takes time to find out what is going on. By doing a step-by-step room-by-room, you isolate and eliminate potential threats. Then you move people. You don't want to move people until you know it's safe to do then your extra resources come on board and you move the people out to a safer location,” Page said.
We know from students and staff at Mount Tabor were taken to that safer location at the school and it appears it was either an auditorium or media center/theater. They were there for hours while law enforcement completed the safety search and coordinated a pick-up location for parents and students.