Early last week, officers with the LaGrange Police Department began an investigation into threats made by several individuals via social media claiming they intended to commit violent crimes at three different schools in LaGrange.
As a result of the threats, the schools went on lockdown as authorities investigated the veracity of the claims.
According to police, the suspects indicated that they would be dressed as “creepy clowns” and would be driving a white van. They posted multiple photos on Facebook of clowns and the van they claimed they would use.
The subjects made several Facebook posts reiterating these threats, which were then shared thousands of times throughout the community. Obviously these threats caused a significant uproar as the LaGrange Police Department began receiving numerous calls indicating clowns were driving in different areas of the city.
There were no individuals ever located wearing clown costumes and several of the calls were believed to be false.
Police say significant resources by the schools, police, and sheriff’s office were expended to address concerns of parents and students of the schools named in the threats. Law enforcement took the threats seriously, as one would expect with threats made against children, but the incidents appear to be a hoax.
So far, at least six individuals have been identified and charged in connection with the incidents.
Steven Goddard Jr., age 18, of Manchester, GA and a 16-year-old juvenile were arrested and charged with Terroristic Threats. The juvenile was additionally charged with Disrupting Public School.
Warrants were also issued for Zaria Dallas, age 18, of LaGrange, and Tristian Bonner, age 17, of Valley, AL for Terroristic Threats.
Troup County Sheriff’s Deputies also arrested two individuals for filing false reports claiming to have seen the clowns in a van in an area of rural Troup County. Deputies investigated the claims and learned the occupants of the van were simply having car trouble and no evidence of any clown paraphernalia was found in or around the vehicle.
As a result, Brandon Moody, age 25, and Rebecca Moody, age 27, were arrested and transported to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office where they were booked into the jail and charged with Obstruction of Officers and Unlawful Conduct During a 911 Call.
Police say these incidents are still under investigation, but no other warrants are expected to be issued at this time.
If anyone has any real information regarding these incidents, please contact the LaGrange Police Department at 706-883-2603, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office at 706-883-1616, or Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000.
Tommy Murphy Staff Writer