Etowah Students Planning to Harm Their Peers Remain Behind Bars

Subject Writer: Kate O’Brien

Alfred Dupree, 17, of Acworth, and Victoria McCurley, 17, of Woodstock, both students of local Etowah High School were put into custody in October of 2017 because social media posts had surfaced with threats toward the school. Both students will be tried as adults. It was reported that the two students were only friends, and not romantically involved.

 

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The Cherokee County Sherriff’s Office where the case is being processed. Photo Courtesy of Emily Hailstone.

 

The threats that the students were planning were brought to the attention of the police through social media. Police then met with Dupree and his parents and gathered enough information to have reasonable suspicions. The police were given reasonable evidence that threats against the school and its students/faculty and then went to search the student’s homes. Dupree and McCurley were taken into custody and are being charged as adults.

“When I first heard about the Etowah students, I was really scared. Normally, things like this don’t really happen in Cherokee County, so it was really surprising. I was scared for a lot of my friends over at Etowah, and because Woodstock is so close too.” (Johanna Ellington, Junior)

 

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Alfred Dupree, 17, of Acworth, and Victoria McCurley, 17, of Woodstock. Photo Courtesy of Emily Hailstone.

 

Many believe that if the threats had not been brought to the attention of the police, they would have been carried through with. Sheriff Frank Reynolds said a motive has not been determined, but the mental health of the teens may have been a factor. “We have a lot of mental health issues and I think that may have been the cause here,” Reynolds said.

“Our community is strongest when we work together to keep all of us – especially our children – safe. We deeply appreciate the community member who reported information to the Woodstock Police Department tip line that ultimately led to these arrests by the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office,” the school said in a statement.

 

 

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The threats were made by the students against Etowah High School, where they also attended. Photo Courtesy of Emily Hailstone.

 

When the police searched the student’s homes, they found personal journals outlining their plans, when included detailed intention to harm many people within the high school. The journal also contained a list of specific names of staff and students or a hit list. Most evidence within the case stemmed from the contents of the journal found in McCurley’s possession after police went to search the two students’ homes. “A homemade incendiary device, which was described as a flammable substance and an undetermined powder substance,” was found in McCurley’s home, police said. The substances were then turned over to the GBI for further testing.

“I was really scared when I first heard someone was making threats over at Etowah, and at first I did not think it was even real. I thought someone was making stuff up. After I found out that they were real I was even more scared because Woodstock is so close, and it was during school. I am glad that those kids were caught before anything bad ever happened and are in custody now.” (Zachary Mitchell-Norman, Junior)

 

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The Etowah High Schoo Campus, where the two students attended school. Photo Courtesy of Emily Hailstone.

 

The two students were charged with three counts of criminal attempt to commit murder, four counts of terroristic threats and acts, one count of criminal attempt to commit arson and one count of possession and/or transportation of destructive device/explosive with intent to kill, injure or destroy any public building. After the case was turned over to the Superior Court, both students will remain behind bars.

There have not been any new developments in this case since its original occurrence in mid-October of last year.

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