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Police presence upped at Gwinnett school despite lack of specific threat

Joseph Medved

Joseph Medved

SUWANEE — North Gwinnett High School saw an extra police presence Thursday as authorities in Forsyth and Fulton counties investigated one man’s vague threat to “shoot up a school with a long rifle.”

According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, 51-year-old Cumming resident Joseph John Medved was at a Fulton County health clinic Wednesday when he made an unspecified threat about shooting up a school. Under the surveillance of authorities, he purchased a shotgun at a Forsyth pawn shop Thursday morning and, shortly thereafter, officials got reports that he was shooting that gun in the air near his home.

Medved was arrested and charged with terroristic threats and acts. A device that “appeared to be a homemade bomb” was later found in his home.

Though Medved’s alleged threat mentioned no specific school, the Forsyth County school system and North Gwinnett High School — where Medved attended many years ago — were alerted. Gwinnett County schools spokesman Jorge Quintana told the Daily Post that appropriate precautions were taken.

“Our chief of police immediately took action by assigning additional police presence during the school day at North Gwinnett High,” Quintana said. “As we work very closely with all law enforcement agencies, Gwinnett County PD assisted by having officers at the school … While no direct threats were made to our school, we took proactive measures as the safety of our students and employees is of high priority to us.”

North Gwinnett Principal Ed Shaddix also posted a letter to parents on the school’s website Thursday afternoon. In it, he said the school was unable to notify parents during the day because the situation involved an active police investigation.

“As this person once attended our school we were notified and took precautionary measures to ensure our school remained safe and secure,” Shaddix wrote. “There was never any direct threat to our school; however, until this person was arrested we felt it prudent to have additional police presence on campus.”

Medved remained at the Fulton County jail as of Friday morning.