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  • Press Release

Phone Call Triggers Lock Downs

On the morning of 08/29/23 a man called in to First Free Will Church and spoke with Pastor Chris Rumfelt. Generally, the man warned Rumfelt to be prepared for violence due to political related events on a federal level. This man, himself, never specifically threatened Rumfelt or First Free Will Church but began cursing during the phone call. At approximately 10:42 AM the substance of this phone call was reported to Clay County 911 Dispatch by an employee of the Church.

Within 2-3 minutes, the first Officers with the Clay County Sheriff's Office arrived to the Church. From the name the man gave during this phone call and the number he called from; he was quickly identified. Due to HIPAA laws, no further information will be released with regard to the caller. It was, however, soon learned that Clay County Sheriff's Officers had responded to this man's residence on the previous evening and noted him to have been armed with a handgun.

As a result of all of this information, the perimeter of First Free Will Church was secured by 6 members of the Clay County Sheriff's Office with the assistance of the NC Highway Patrol. Clay County School Campuses were put in a "Soft Lock Down" or a shelter in place where they continued their studies even though no other calls were made by this man. On-duty School Resource Officers remained at their assigned Schools during this period.

At 11:41 AM this man was stopped in a pickup truck at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Tusquittee Street in Hayesville. He was found to have been armed with a handgun and taken into custody without incident.

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