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Threat to ‘shoot up the school’ a prank, say police

Threat to ‘shoot up the school’ a prank, say police

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Threat to ‘shoot up the school’ a prank, say police

CONWAY — Authorities have determined a threatening call regarding a Conway elementary school was a prank.

Police say they received a 911 call from a disconnected cell phone just before 5:30 p.m. on Monday in which a ‘young caller’ reported someone was trying to “shoot up the school” at Marguerite Vann Elementary. The caller said five people had been shot and the shooter was currently in the office with the principal. After multiple agencies responded to the scene, officers say it was quickly determined to be a prank call, however, police continued to do a complete search of the school to ensure there was no real threat.

According to a post on the Conway Police Department’s Facebook page, the caller stayed on the line with 911 operators during the incident, changing the information throughout the call.

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LITTLE ROCK — It’s one and done for the new owners of a Little Rock music festival that has fallen on hard times.

Just one year after reviving Riverfest in 2018, organizers say the even will not return this year.

They say the plan is to “restructure, reorganize and re-invent” the music festival in downtown Little Rock this year, with plans to bring it back as early as next year.

“In 2020, we plan to return to the roots of the festival, with an event entirely focused on the heartbeat of Arkansas, our talented communities and the things we love,” the post says.

Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, applauds the efforts to revamp Riverfest during a time where the financial model for such an event is ever changing.

“If you have an outdoor even that you’re having to pay a higher rate for an artist, then you need to sell so many tickets to be able to cover that, but if you don’t have the weather cooperating, that can be a challenge,” Holmstrom.

Attendance has declined over the years ranging from 250,000 people at the event’s peak and decreasing to around 125,000 in 2017.

Holmstrom acknowledges Riverfest benefits businesses in Little Rock and helps the city’s economy. Previous festival organizers have noted the festival generates an economic impact of $33 million.

He’s holding out hope for a successful revamping of the festival in years to come.

“There’s a good brand there.

Anyone who’s spent any amount of time in Arkansas, especially through the spring and summer months has heard of Riverfest so if they can get the plans right then I feel confident that people will show back up,” Holmstrom said.

In July 2017, Riverfest organizers suspended operations after four decades, citing high costs and declining attendance. Memphis-based Universal Fairs bought the rights to Riverfest and promoted the 2018 festival.

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Sheriff’s Department arming patrolmen with less lethal weapons

JONESBORO — The Craighead County Sheriff’s Department is training with another tool to keep the community and their officers safe.

They’re called bean bag guns, and they’re a less lethal option for deputies out patrolling the streets.

It looks like a normal shotgun, but the rounds are actually small bean bags.

It’s a gun that is already being used by SWAT but the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office is now arming deputies with the device.

Training officer Randy Sharp said it’s another way to create distance and diffuse a situation in a less lethal manner.

“When we go hands on with people, the risk of injury to the officer and to the suspect or to the violator rise tremendously,” Sharp said. “When we are allowed to use less lethal tools, the injury to the officer goes down and the injuries, other than sustained from the less lethal device, go down tremendously.”

Training on the device is similar to other weapons deputies have as far as loading, unloading and aiming.

Sharp said the biggest difference is learning the correct

distance to make the tool effective.

There are five bean bag guns active right now and Sharp said they plan to add more later in the year.

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