Early Tuesday morning the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a threat to Pell City High School, Ashville High School and both county courthouses.
According to a release from the Sheriff's Office, the threat implied an explosive device would cause damage to these locations. An email containing the threats was sent to the St. Clair County Board of Education and the St. Clair County Clerk’s Office.
By late evening on Tuesday, a suspect was identified, questioned, and arrested. Danny Ray Nichols, 37, of Springville was booked into the St. Clair County Jail on two counts of terrorist threats and has no bond.
The St. Clair County Courthouses in Ashville and Pell City were evacuated. According to information from the Pell City School System, Pell City High School was on soft lockdown, meaning no one was outside but interior classes went on as scheduled as law enforcement searched the locations for possible threats.
The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, Pell City Police, Ashville Police, Moody Police, and Riverside Police Departments worked together to search the locations utilizing K9 units to aid in their efforts.
“Thank you to FBI, State Fire Marshals, Pell City PD, Springville PD, Moody PD and Alabama Fusion Center for their assistance in this incident and arrest,” said St. Clair County Assistant Sheriff Billy Murray.
St. Clair County Schools Superintendent Jenny Seals posted on Facebook that law enforcement cleared Ashville Elementary, Ashville Middle Schools, and Ashville High School. Classes resumed as normal around 10:45 a.m.
“We wanted to thank everyone for their cooperation and thank all of the personnel that have helped keep our students safe,” said Seals. “Thank you to our wonderful Law Enforcement.”
Pell City High School was also cleared around 10 a.m. and all classes resumed. According to the PCHS Facebook page they had an extensive Law Enforcement presence on campus throughout the day.
“The safety of each student in the Pell City School System is of the utmost importance to us and a top priority,” said Pell City School Superintendent Michael Barber. “We appreciate the Pell City Police Department’s dedication to student safety.”
Although an arrest has been made in connection to the case, the investigation is ongoing and more information will be available at a later date, according to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office.