MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Parents at some daycare centers in Midtown are on alert Wednesday after threats of violence.
The parking lot that would normally be full at First Baptist Church on East Parkway sits empty Wednesday afternoon. The daycare at the church closed after a man allegedly threatened violence.
Kat Kimball, the pastor of First Baptist, said they closed the school that serves 120 infants through 4-year-olds out of precaution after some threats were made.
“We received word from police that a threat was made against a school connected with a church in Midtown,” Kimball said. “We know that those threats are often followed up on and we want to make sure those students who are a part of our school are safe and well taken care of.”
She said police were at the school Friday after an incident and they were back Tuesday when the threat was made.
Memphis Police sent us a police report about a man making threats at First Baptist Church on Tuesday. The report said the FBI and TBI had been contacted and the suspect called them and made threats to shoot up a school attached to a church in the area of East Parkway.
The report said the man had made similar comments a few days earlier. It also said he had been taken to Memphis Mental Health. The man was trespassing and as he was escorted off the property he made verbal threats, according to the police report.
It’s all unnerving for parents like Robbyn Abedi.
“There is somebody really being that horrible to threaten kids and to think oh that is really out there. That’s scary just around the corner,” he said.
Abedi is concerned about his 3-year-old’s safety but also juggling rearranging things and keeping her at home.
“It definitely is stressful with two working parents switching up their schedules,” he said.
It’s not just parents with children at First Baptist who are worried. Other parents are concerned too. Audrey Royle, a parent from Lindenwood Church, sent us a copy of the message she said the daycare there sent out, and said Lindenwood was also on alert.
She said she was keeping her child at home out of precaution.
“He is still at large. Why are we not receiving reports, written information, and updates from FBI, TBI, MPD so we can assess the risk and make sure our kids are safe,” said Audrey.
Parents said they are happy their school has taken action, but they’re not taking any chances until police do the same.
“Until this person is detained, I don’t see how any of us, especially I can say with us, feel comfortable with our youngest going back,” Abedi said.
MPD said officers are engaged in directed patrols at the church and additional patrols in the area. They said the investigation is ongoing.
“We encourage anyone who sees anything out of the ordinary to contact the police. Parents should also remind their children if they see something out of the ordinary, they should inform an adult immediately,” Officer Joseph Hibbler said.
The director of First Baptist Day School said the school will reopen Thursday and they have hired security for the day. They are also planning to install security cameras and a SkyCop on the first of the year.