East Ridge Police worried about potentially violent man - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: East Ridge Police worried about potentially violent man

Posted: Updated:

EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB) -- Leaders at Spring Creek Elementary have been warned a potentially dangerous man may soon be on the loose.

East Ridge Police hope to calm some fears, saying they want to be proactive in warning the community about the man.

They insist he is not an immediate threat but say he has made violent threats in the past.

Legal sources tell Channel 3 18-year-old Russell Gearing is currently being held at a local health institute.

After making threats involving children, police wanted the school system to be aware as they head into a new semester.

"Mr. Gearing had made threats toward children as well as the community at large," says Erik Hopkins with the East Ridge Police Department.

Russell Gearing moved to East Ridge last year and East Ridge Police say they have had their run-ins with the teen ever since.

"My understanding is that he does have a juvenile criminal record. What that entails, I'm not one hundred percent certain," says Hopkins.

Police say over time, Gearing's threats escalated.

Police reports show in December he "was having thoughts of burning a neighbor's house down."

Then in January, his mother called police saying her son "had a psychotic episode," writing in his journal "his desire to blow up" nearby Spring Creek Elementary and referenced that he was "the greatest serial killer in the world."

He also made reference to the Sandy Hook tragedy.

"It was important to let at least the neighbors and surrounding businesses know that he was present in their neighborhood," says Hopkins.

Last week East Ridge Police went door to door in Gearing's neighborhood.

"He said if he came out and threatened anything just to call 911 and they'd come out and make him go back home," says Carl Hughes, who lives in Gearing's neighborhood.

We tried talking to Gearing's mother but she did not want to comment.

In the meantime, the principal and staff at Spring Creek are staying on top of the situation, passing out Gearing's picture.

"We had the picture copied for all the faculty and staff and I talked with them during a meeting on that Monday," says Paula Bergner, Principal of Spring Creek.

She wants all parents to know, the students are safe.

"We can't let that overshadow what we're here for and that's what we've tried to do this week and we'll continue with that," says Bergner.

Bottom line, police hope Gearing gets the help he needs.

"Sometimes there are gray areas between what is criminal and what is psychological," says Hopkins.

Police say it does make a difference now with Gearing's age. He turned 18 in December. Now that he is an adult, he is viewed differently in the eyes of the law.

East Ridge Police say federal investigators are also aware of this situation.

 

  • Most Popular on WRCBtv.comMost Popular on WRCBtv.comMore>>

  • Special Kneads: A new Georgia bakery

    Special Kneads: A new Georgia bakery

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:18:16 GMT
     A small bakery in Georgia is getting big support from the community.  The bakery is also getting noticed for what it's doing that is unlike anywhere else and a hint is in the name.

    More
     A small bakery in Georgia is getting big support from the community.  The bakery is also getting noticed for what it's doing that is unlike anywhere else and a hint is in the name.


    More
  • Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

    Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:50:53 GMT
    McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry's workers.More
    McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry's workers.More
  • Vols' "3rd Down for What" is a hit inside Neyland Stadium

    Vols' "3rd Down for What" is a hit inside Neyland Stadium

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-09-02 04:00:16 GMT
    Sports - Tennessee VolsSports - Tennessee Vols
    If General Neyland were around today it's safe to say Lil Jon and "Turn Down for What" wouldn't be on his iPod, but you have to wonder if he'd be bobbing his head to the remix inside the stadium named after him. More
    If General Neyland were around today it's safe to say Lil Jon and "Turn Down for What" wouldn't be on his iPod, but you have to wonder if he'd be bobbing his head to the remix inside the stadium named after him. More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.