Rowan Co. student accused of wearing clown mask, waving butcher knife in cafeteria

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

West Rowan Middle School in Salisbury (Google Maps)

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. – A 14-year-old middle school student in Rowan County is accused of wearing a clown mask and waving a 12-inch butcher knife in the cafeteria.

Authorities said it happened Tuesday morning in the lunch area of West Rowan Middle School in Salisbury.

Danny Lindley, a resource officer at the school, said he heard students screaming and running from the area.

Officials said the resource officer moved toward the cafeteria and confronted the student, waving knife wildly in the air.

The student was wearing a rubber clown mask that fully covered his head and was 14 year old, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

Lindley told the student to drop the knife, but he continued to wave it with his right hand, according to deputies.

Authorities said Lindley pulled his baton from his duty belt and continued to tell the student to drop the knife while moving closer to him.

The masked student lowered the knife to his right side but continued to hold it, according to authorities.

Lindley used his baton to strike the student’s right forearm with three strikes, which caused the student to drop the knife. Lindley placed the student in handcuffs and took him to the office.

The student’s book bag was secured and another 10-inch butcher knife was found.

The school was not put into lockdown, as authorities said the threat had been quickly eliminated.

No students or staff suffered injuries during this incident. Investigators determined the student needed to be evaluated by mental health personnel due to some of the statements he made to Lindley and school staff.

The student was transported to a medical center, where he was being evaluated and having an X-ray done on his right arm.

The investigation will continue after medical personnel have made a determination on what type of treatment the student needs due to his mental status, according to authorities.

“This is a prime example of why resource officers are so important for the middle schools of Rowan County. Deputy Lindley’s quick response and skillful handling of this potentially tragic situation is to be commended,” said Sheriff Kevin Auten.