SDPC evaluating security after shooting

COUNTY — School District of Pickens County officials said last week that security measures throughout the district will be examined even more closely following a shooting last Wednesday at Townville Elementary School in neighboring Anderson County.

A teenager was apprehended after authorities said he shot two students, injuring one critically, and a teacher. Jesse Osborne, 14, is also accused of killing his father, Jeffrey Osborne.

The teen has been charged with two counts of murder in his father’s death and the death of 6-year-old Jacob Hall, who died Saturday at the Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital. Osborne also faces three additional counts of attempted murder, as well as five counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Police claim Osborne shot his father at their Townville home on Wednesday afternoon, then drove the family truck to the elementary school, a little more than three miles away, crashed the vehicle into a fence near the school’s playground and opened fire.

SDPC spokesman John Eby said the district will be reviewing its safety policies in light of Wednesday’s shooting. Eby added he was also working on a summary of security measures to send out to the public.

“Each year our principals review their safety plans and update them,” Eby said. “It’s too early to say what changes may be put in place with regard to playgrounds, but that is something we will review.”

Phillip Bowers, who represents the Central, Six Mile and Norris areas on the Pickens County School Board, said all threats will be evaluated as the district becomes aware of them, and an assessment of facilities, procedures and protocols will be conducted to ensure that everything is being done to protect students and staff. However, he added that a balance between freedom and security must be struck in the process.

“We will protect people, but I don’t want our schools barricaded like military installations either,” Bowers said.

Support has poured in from around the state and nation for the Townville community.

“Our prayers go out to our Anderson County neighbors in the wake of the terrible tragedy at Townville Elementary,” Bowers said.

— The Journal’s Greg Oliver contributed to this report.