Search for Suspect Forces Lockdown of Four Forest Area Schools

Forest, VA - Four schools in Forest were locked down Tuesday morning while deputies searched for a suspect in a nearby neighborhood.

Sheriff Mike Brown says the students at Jefferson Forest High, Forest Middle, Forest Elementary, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary were never in immediate danger.

The lockdown was a precaution, officials say, after a student at Jefferson Forest High School reported he'd been assaulted by a male with a weapon while getting into a car to go to school Tuesday morning.

Investigators didn't find anything to prove anything actually happened, though.

The report came in at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday. The lockdown was lifted at 12:15 p.m.

Deputies spent the morning searching the neighborhood around Daltons Drive for the potential suspect.

The neighborhood is just down Hooper Road from the high school, where the assault is said to have taken place.

Investigators were also at the school all morning.

A sheriff's office captain says they interviewed the student who made the claim and one of his parents.

Officials say the students inside the school were safe at all times, but they really need to take every claim seriously and limit access to the schools when something like this happens.

"We just locked them down on level 1 for precautionary measures, the surrounding schools elementary and middle school, as we would do at any other school when something like this is going on, when somebody is on foot at large," said Capt. Tim Hayden of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

Tuesday's event was a level one lockdown, which meant that students could change classes inside the building, but couldn't go outside.