Threat of mass violence against Charles Co. elementary school tracked to Md. man

Before school districts across the region began increasing security in light of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Texas, investigators said a Charles County, Maryland, elementary school received a threat of mass violence.

Officers with the Warrant/Fugitive Unit & Domestic Violence Unit arrested Earl B. Washington Jr., 46, in St. Mary’s County a day after investigators said Washington called Gale-Bailey Elementary School in Marbury, Maryland, and threatened mass violence. They did not offer more specifics on the threat.

Washington also threatened a business in White Plains, Charles County investigators said, and shared that they believe he has personal connections to both locations.

“We, out of an abundance of caution, had additional police presence there yesterday and again, today, likely to continue this week,” said Superintendent Maria Navarro.

While students might not have realized they were under a threat Tuesday, hours later, following the school shooting in Texas, Navarro said security increased at all county schools. School resource officers who are normally stationed at county middle and high schools remained vigilant, as extra officers were added to supplement their protection and to stand guard outside county elementary schools to ward off any copycat attacks.

Student support offices in the county school system are checking in with mental health specialists and counselors following the Texas shooting. Navarro said both parents and kids have walked in with questions and concerns about their safety.

“So this is usually a time where we’re celebrating so many great accomplishments of our staff and our students. We have graduations. We have celebrations after graduations. I spoke to the sheriff … and we’ve been talking about just making sure we have adequate coverage given the context of today,” Navarro said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up