CROFTON, Md. - Anne Arundel County police said they have arrested two suspects for placing a noose at a middle school in Crofton.
Conner Charles Prout and John Adam Havermann, both 19 years old, are facing charges of trespassing on posted property, trespassing on school property, disturbing school operations and disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace. They were arrested on Friday.
"I am very proud of the hard work our detectives put in to solving this case," said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare in a news release. "I am hopeful that this swift arrest offers at least some degree of closure for the students, faculty and staff at the Crofton Middle School. There is no place in our community for the sentiment communicated by such an act, and we will always give 100% effort to bring to justice anyone who commits a crime espousing hateful ideology."
Investigators say the suspects were seen on surveillance video gaining access to the roof of Crofton Middle School during the early morning hours on Thursday. The noose was placed on a light fixture in front of a window of a teacher planning room.
Police were made aware of the incident by school administrators after a teacher discovered the noose just before 11 a.m. School officials said the noose could be visible to students from other classrooms. A school custodian immediately removed the noose after police were contacted.
Principal Nuria Williams sent home a letter with students on Thursday saying:
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing to let you know about a most disturbing incident that occurred at our school today. Shortly before 11 a.m., a teacher reported to our administration that there was a noose hanging in front of a window that looks out on our courtyard.
The noose was hung from an exterior light and was in front of a window of a teacher planning room. It was also visible to students who could look into the courtyard from other classrooms.
We immediately called county police, and asked a custodian to remove the noose. That was done within minutes of our becoming aware of it.
We, along with police, are continuing to investigate this incident in an effort to determine how the noose came to be placed on the light. While I cannot discuss specifics of this active investigation, we believe at this point that the noose was placed on the light last night by someone who gained access to the roof of our building. We do not believe this event happened during our school day.
This incident is clearly disturbing on many levels. While it appears to have no connection to our instructional day or any instructional unit our students are currently studying, we cannot ignore the intolerant message this act conveys.
I addressed our students before school dismissed today and reassured them that they are safe and supported in our school. I also want to assure you that we have resources available for any student or adult who has a need to discuss their feelings about this matter. I also am more than willing to address it - to the extent that I am able - at our Coffee with the Principal event scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at the school.
If you have any information that could help in our investigation, please call our school or county police.
We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and supportive school community. We will not let this incident change that, and we will continue to work with county police to try and ascertain who the culprits are.