Suspicious gas can delays dismissal at Cousins Middle School in Covington

COVINGTON -- There were a few tense moments Tuesday afternoon at Cousins Middle School when the presence of a can of gasoline was noted behind a vehicle in the school parking lot.

According to the Covington Police Department, a call came in from the school around 4 p.m. concerning the discovery of the suspicious can of gasoline.

"There was a metal gas can found behind the back of a vehicle parked in the Cousins Middle School parking lot," said Public Information Officer Capt. Ken Malcom. "The vehicle belonged to a Cousins Middle School staff member. The Covington Police Department and Fire Department removed the can from the parking lot and discovered the can was almost empty."

The case was turned over to the CPD Criminal Investigations Division.

"Why the gas can was left at this location is still under investigation," Malcom said. "There is no evidence at this time to suggest the act was intentional."

The incident occurred about the time students were ready to dismiss from school.

"Car rider dismissal at Cousins Middle School was delayed due to a perceived emergency at the time," said Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations for the Newton County School System. "At no time was anyone in danger and precautions were taken to ensure the safety of students and staff members. We appreciate the parents' cooperation during the situation as we know they were inconvenienced. The safety of students and staff is always our No. 1 priority."