According to Sheriff Larry Amerson, Joseph Brian Williams, 54, was arrested on a charge of making a terroristic threat, a felony.
Amerson said the situation resulted from Williams being upset over his child potentially having an assigned seat on his school bus.
While the school system and the bus driver have the authority to assign students particular seats, that had not happened, Amerson said, adding that the student had been told he needed to behave. The student complained to Williams, who met the bus on Wednesday and spoke to the driver in a threatening manner, according to the sheriff.
Amerson said that on Thursday, a deputy followed the bus to the student’s stop, where the deputy spoke to Williams about the incident and said it was not the right way to handle the situation.
“They had a pleasant discussion; everything was OK,” Amerson said.
After that conversation, the sheriff said, Williams met with Tesha Crump, the principal of Alexandria Elementary School, and was upset about his child being assigned to a particular seat on the bus.
According to Amerson, Williams said, “If that happens, you’re going to see here what happened a couple of months ago.”
According to Amerson, after Crump cautioned the father about making such threats, Williams said, “Well, I’m just telling you.”
Amerson said Crump’s interpretation of that statement was that it was a reference to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 teachers and students were shot to death in Newtown, Conn.
“She didn’t know what else it could refer to,” he said, “so a report was made about making a terroristic threat.”
Attempts to reach Crump were unsuccessful today.
Amerson said because the situation involved a bus driver, he was also concerned it was a reference to events in January in Dale County, where a man fatally shot a bus driver and kidnapped a 5-year-old student, whom he held in a bunker before being killed by law enforcement during a raid.
“We’re not sure which event specifically he was referring to,” Amerson said. “Since he was confronting a bus driver, we were concerned about both.”
Amerson said Williams was arrested at 5:10 p.m. and booked into the Calhoun County Jail about two hours later. His bond was set at $10,000.
“With the atmosphere involving our schools today and the kinds of events we have seen across the country and in Alabama, we will have zero tolerance for threatening behavior toward schools or school personnel,” Amerson said.
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.