Georgia teacher in custody after allegedly opening fire in classroom, police say

A teacher has been taken into custody after allegedly firing at least one shot inside a Georgia high school classroom Wednesday, police said. 

The Dalton Police Department identifed the teacher as Jesse Randall Davidson, 53, a social studies teacher who also does play-by-play announcements during the school's football games. He has been employed with the school since 2004.

Davidson was charged with aggravated assault, carrying a weapon on school grounds, terroristic threats, reckless conduct, possession of a gun during commission of a crime and disrupting public school, police said in a tweet.

The department earlier tweeted a person, believed to be a teacher, was barricaded inside a classroom. The person allegedly would not allow students into the room, police said. 

Dalton High School was placed on lockdown and police confirmed no children were in any danger and there weren't any students inside the classroom at the time of the incident, they said. The school and the area surrounding it were evacuated.

georgia teacher

Police said Jesse Randall Davidson, 53, was the teacher involved in Wednesday's incident.  (Dalton Public Schools)

During an afternoon news conference, Dalton High School Principal Steve Bartoo said he was notified of the situation around 11:40 a.m. After arriving to the area of the building, he said students were being shuffled into another classroom and he was told that Davidson wasn't letting anyone in.

Bartoo said he tried to go inside the classroom but Davidson slammed the door in his face and told him to "go away."

In this Feb. 24, 2018 photo, the main entrance of Dalton High School is shown, in Dalton, Ga. Police in Georgia say officers are responding to reports of shots fired at the high school and a teacher who may have been barricaded in a classroom is in custody. (AP Photo/Jeff Martin)

One student sustained an ankle injury Wednesday following an incident at Dalton High School.  (AP)

The school resource officer, who was off-campus at a nearby middle school, was called, the principal said, and other students were moved from a nearby classroom.

After that, Bartoo said he tried again to enter the classroom, this time putting his key in the door and announcing himself, only to have it slammed on him again. He said Davidson told him not to come in and said "I have a gun."

The school was immediately placed under threat lockdown mode and shortly after, Bartoo said he heard a gunshot. He added that it seemed like only minutes before officers arrived to the school. Students were moved and part of the hallway was evacuated before police ultimately told them to clear out the entire school, the principal said.

Police did not say what type of firearm was used but confirmed it was a handgun. The gun has been recovered.

One student was injured after sustaining an ankle injury while running inside the school during the building evacuation, the Dalton Police Department tweeted. No faculty or staff were reported injured in the incident.

Bartloo said he has known Davidson since he was employed by the district and described him as an "excellent teacher" who was "well thought of." When asked if this event was a surprise, the principal said, "absolutely."

"Certainly shocking ... probably shock any school principal if one of their staff members pulled out a gun in a classroom and fired it," Bartloo said.

Asst. Chief Cliff Cason of the Dalton Police Department said authorities are currently aware of one shot going off and that it was fired through the classroom window and went outside the building.

Davidson was taken into custody and brought to Whitfield County Jail, Cason said.

He added that the teacher would face "appropriate charges because this is a very egregious act that took place at the school."

Cason commended the work of the school resource officer, who he said convinced Davidson to surrender to authorities, as well as the school for their response to the situation. He called their execution of the lockdown "flawless."

"Our job would not have been nearly as easy to execute today if it weren't for how well they did in doing their lockdown drill," Cason said.

The school has about 2,000 students, according to their website. 

Dalton is about 90 miles north of Atlanta.