School lockdown stemmed from domestic dispute (updated)

Published 3:43 pm Monday, March 17, 2014

Clanton Elementary School and three other schools nearby were placed on lockdown for about an hour Monday morning as authorities were called to handle a situation allegedly stemming from a domestic dispute.

“There was a bit of a domestic dispute that just kind of made its way to the school,” Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden said. “None of the students were ever involved. The lockdown was just a precaution.”

No students or faculty members were harmed, and no weapons were found, Hayden said Monday afternoon.

The Clanton Police Department responded to the call and took Michael J. Day, 30 of Clanton, into custody outside of CES, Chief Brian Stilwell said.

Day was arrested and charged with domestic violence third degree, terrorist threat (felony), possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Day was placed in the Chilton County Jail with no bond set as of Monday afternoon.

At about 7:42 a.m. Monday, CPD received a call of a domestic situation at a local gas station involving a weapon and the suspect (Day) allegedly threatening to hurt himself and his girlfriend, according to a CPD press release.

They left before police arrived on the scene, but Calera police later responded to a different domestic situation involving Day and his girlfriend, the release said.

Day’s girlfriend told CPD that Day was driving recklessly on the interstate, wielded a knife and had a shotgun in the vehicle, the release said.

After Day dropped his girlfriend off at her job, she and her mother called CES to warn administrators that Day was headed to the school after he had sent “some very vague yet disturbing text messages,” the release said.

At 9:39 a.m., authorities said Day arrived at CES allegedly to check out his children from school.

“With all that was going on [and] him being armed, the text messages caused them to believe he was going to hurt himself and his children,” Stilwell said in the release. “One message allegedly stated he was going to get his kids and they were all going to see their mother. Their mother died last year.”

After Day’s girlfriend and her mother notified the school, CES called CPD and secured the school. Day never gained entry to the school, the release stated.

“The school staff should be commended,” Stilwell said.

According to the release, CPD alerted Clanton Intermediate, Clanton Middle and Chilton County High schools through Chilton County 911, and all four schools were placed on lockdown until officers could make sure Day was in custody and there were no threats toward any students or employees.

“We wanted to make sure the schools were safe and with them all being on one campus, it was best to lock them all down,” Stilwell said. “Officers were sent to each school.”

Stilwell said Chilton County Department of Human Resources is involved, and the children are with a relative.

“I can’t stress enough what a great job the school staff did today,” Stilwell said. “Because we were able to get to Mr. Day prior to him getting his kids, we won’t ever know his true intentions. But we do know because of the school’s actions, they are safe.”

CPD detectives recovered the gun in question from Day’s living room in a subsequent search, the release said.

Calera PD has pending charges of domestic violence for the incidents that occurred in their jurisdiction Monday.

“Thanks to Calera PD, Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, Chilton County 911, the school staff and the victim for their help in averting this potentially dangerous situation,” Stilwell said.