What We KNOW
Updated: May 22
From NNN to your local podcaster, it seems every news source in the country is covering the Sept. 9 riot at North Acheron High School and the Sept. 10 protests that followed. Reports of both incidents have varied widely and include more sensationalism than sources. Here's a rundown of what we know for sure:
10:30 AM, Tuesday Sept. 9
Acheron DSF is notified of an unsanctioned, student-led political protest inside NAHS by a member of the faculty, as required by C.O.N.D. public school regulations.
NAHS faculty are put into direct contact with Acheron DSF Captain Allen Burgess.
Faculty remain in control of the situation at this time and no direct action is taken by DSF.
*According to student witnesses, the protest began with a demonstration in a history classroom, followed by subsequent demonstrations in classrooms throughout the building. Students of all grades were involved in the demonstration, but the action was believed to have been organized by a small group of juniors.
Captain Burgess receives notification from NAHS faculty that the demonstrations are spreading and an opposition group was forming among the students. Verbal and physical confrontations were spreading quickly and a number of fights had been broken up.
DSF officers in the area are alerted to the escalating situation and instructed to be prepared to respond if needed.
A pre-emptive Use of Force Order is granted to on site security as a precautionary measure.
School officials report to Captain Burgess that they have lost control of the student body. Widespread fighting has broken out in hallways, common areas and classrooms. Students are reported to be destroying school property and attacking faculty members.
At this time, it is also reported that NAHS resource officer, Lieutenant John Elks, had been seriously injured in an altercation with students and was no longer capable of performing security duties. DSF assistance is formally and urgently requested.
Captain Burgess dispatches the 2 nearest DSF units to the high school and puts an additional 4 units on standby.
Multiple 911 calls are placed reporting gunfire inside NAHS. School administrators initiate lockdown procedures, instructing students and staff to shelter in place until the threat is cleared.
Captain Burgess orders all available DSF units to respond immediately to an active shooter situation at North Acheron High School.
*DSF records show the first officers arrived approximately 6 minutes after gunfire was reported.
Upon arriving at the scene, DSF officers determine that there is a legitimate active shooter threat inside the building. Officers establish a perimeter around the building and wait for tactical teams to arrive per DSF protocol.
Local news crews arrive and began live broadcast. The earliest images capture tactical teams arriving at the scene and entering the building.
Sporadic gunfire, screaming students and other noises are heard in the live broadcast as concerned parents gather across the street.
*Captain Burgess would announce later that the DSF tactical team was ambushed by students shortly after entering the building, resulting in the death of DSF officer Terry Butler.
Clouds of smoke can be seen coming from the windows in various parts of the high school.
Students can be seen running from the building through exits and first floor windows. Several students are witnessed lowering each other out of second floor windows.
Unable to distinguish aggressors from innocent students, DSF corral fleeing students and seat them on the sidewalk outside of the building to await transport to a safe, secondary location.
Formal evacuation of the building begins. DSF officers enter the building and began leading students out in single file lines. Students are seated in the yard outside the building to await transport.
Students are witnessed actively resisting DSF instructions during the evacuation process. Local news broadcasts footage of these students being handcuffed and placed in the back of DSF cruisers.
Busses arrive on scene to transport students to a pre-designated, secondary location. Parents are told that they can pick their children up at this location once all students have been accounted for and the building has been safely cleared.
Parents leave the scene and travel to a nearby grocery store parking lot which is named in the NAHS parent handbook as the student pick up location in the event of a school evacuation.
A large group of parents have arrived at the designated pick up location, but no student transports have arrived. Local news broadcasts show growing agitation among the waiting families.
Captain Burgess makes a statement to the press from DSF headquarters. In this address, he confirms several things:
• A political protest at NAHS devolved into a riot.
• Students and faculty members were assaulted, including the school resource officer.
• A firearm was discharged inside the building, triggering a lockdown of the building and
an active shooter response by DSF.
• NAHS Principal James O'keefe was killed by gunfire during the shooting.
• DSF officers were ambushed by students upon entering the building. Use of Force was
required and authorized in an attempt to neutralize the threat.
• DSF officer Terry Butler lost his life during this altercation.
• The smoke seen coming out of the building was the result of a non-toxic, chemical fire
suppressant. There was no evidence of fire within the building.
• DSF believe the fire alarm was pulled by the perpetrators in order to provide cover while
they escaped among the rest of the student body.
• Students were transported to the West Central Juvenile Detention Facility instead of
the designated pick up location in order to allow DSF officers time to distinguish
between student perpetrators and innocent bystanders.
• Guardians would be notified directly when their individual students were cleared and
available for pick up. They are instructed to return home while they wait.
• DSF requests patience from the families as they continue their investigation and thanks
them in advance for their cooperation.
Captain Burgess gives a second statement from DSF headquarters announcing a manhunt for 2 students believed to be the ringleaders behind the day's events. He asks the community to be on alert as they search and offers a reward for information leading to their arrest.
The emergency alert system is activated to spread information about the wanted suspects throughout the community. Residents receive sms alerts, email notifications, and social media alerts in addition to fliers that will be printed and distributed throughout the city.
These notices contain the following information:
• Suspect 1: Revel Rhodes, Female, 16, caucasian, blonde hair, green eyes, 115 lbs, 5'-4"
Last seen wearing pink flannel shirt and leggings
• Suspect 2: Patrick Pierce, Male, 16, caucasian, black hair, brown eyes, 135 lbs, 5'-8"
Last seen wearing ripped jeans and a white t-shirt
Known to use the alias "Rodent"
Suspects are believed to have planned and executed the political demonstration that erupted into violence at NAHS with the support of a large number of additional students.
Suspects are not believed to be armed, but are regarded as highly dangerous due to their large number of followers who have proven their willingness to use violence.
Warrants have been issued for their immediate arrest on the following charges:
• Felony Rioting
• Inciting Riot
• Destruction of Government Property
• Conspiracy to Commit Insurrection
The community is asked to report any sightings and/or information regarding either suspect to the nearest DSF officer.
DSF officers clear press and onlookers from school grounds as forensics vans arrive.
News crews record growing unrest among families still waiting at the pick up site.
DSF officers arrive at the pick up location to clear the area, threatening families with arrest for failure to comply. The crowd can be seen angrily jeering at the officers as they leave the scene.
A large DSF presence is witnessed outside a residential building in the Parkdale area just south of the James River. This is believed to be the residence of suspect Revel Rhodes. Witnesses report no evidence of anyone being taken into custody.
6:00 AM, Weds Sept 10
Local news broadcasts that no students have been seen being released from West Central Juvenile Detention Facility overnight.
Interviews with families of detained students reveal that they did not receive any additional communication from DSF or school officials overnight. Families have not even been able to confirm that their children are in custody, despite rumors of students being injured and killed.
A statement from the office of Acheron Schools Superintendent Fion Connelly announces their regret as they confirm that two students were killed during the NAHS riot. The details of their deaths are not released at this time due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
The students killed were:
• Louisa Coleman, 14
• Jaron Dworley, 17
Angry parents and family members gather outside school and city offices demanding information on the status of their students.
DSF release a written statement informing the public that, due to a credible threat to the safety of city employees, DSF offices and patrol stations are being placed on lockdown and will be closed to the public except as required for official DSF business.
A solidarity vigil begins at South Acheron High School. The event was organized by SAHS students in support of the NAHS students who remain in custody.
Authorities have given no additional information regarding the release of NAHS students.
Families gather outside DSF patrol stations throughout the city. Denied entry, they carry signs and yell slurs at officers entering and exiting the building. Some protesters are there only to demand information, but calls for DSF to immediately release all students are growing.
Several stations place armed officers outside of entrances to keep angry citizens at a safe distance.
Neighborhood protests turn into organized marches to Victoria Square. A large crowd begins to gather in front of City Hall and DSF Headquarters. (Both located in Victoria Square)
DSF places crowd control officers at the entrances to City Hall and DSF Headquarters in order prevent protesters from forcing entry.
Local news reports that there has been no new information regarding the release of NAHS students. DSF are still searching for suspects Rhodes and Pierce and promise anonymity to anyone who has information on their whereabouts.
Word that there is still no information sends more angry citizens into the streets. Several incidents of vandalism and broken windows are reported.
Unconfirmed reports that the mayor and city officials have been trapped inside City Hall by angry protesters spread. Hundreds more head to Victoria Square to demand the release of students.
DSF uses large city maintenance vehicles to block roadways in an attempt to impede marches of angry citizens heading downtown. DSF officers begin patrolling the streets carrying large, plastic shields and batons. Some wear full riot gear.
Sign carrying protesters divert from the streets and overtake subway cars as they head towards City Hall. DSF officers attempt to block their entry at some stations but are overhwhelmed.
An estimated crowd of several thousand protesters has gathered in front of city hall as people continue to stream into Victoria Square from all directions.
DSF have barricaded main roads into the city center and are attempting to prohibit all entry into Victoria Square. Many who are turned away double back and access the square through alleys and neighboring businesses.
Local and national media cover the growing protest. An NNN camera crew is positioned a few hundred yards from the steps to CityHall and is providing a live feed of the protest to audiences worldwide.
A muffled crack is heard above the chanting voices of angry protesters. There is a momentary hush and then the sound of screaming. The live feed goes black.
6:00 AM, Thurs Sept 11 (Today)
Local news reports that the protest in Victoria Square was interrupted when a man in attendance accidentally discharged a weapon into the crowd. No injuries are reported from the gunfire itself, but the sound sent protesters running in every direction and several people were injured in the panic.
DSF have detained a suspect and are expected to file charges for illegal firearms possession and unlawful discharge of a weapon.
City officials announce that Victoria Square will be closed to the public today in order to allow city officials to safely conduct business. DSF Headquarters will remain on lockdown.
Local news airs with no further mention of the detained students or the protests.
National news continues to cover the situation, but provide no new information beyond what they had obtained when the live feed was cut the previous night.