KPD e-News Release: Police Called to Kingsport School as a Result of a Complete but Honest Misunderstanding

Kingsport Police Department

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

ThomasMPatton • 423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-224-2786 (FAX)

SUBJECT: Police Called to Kingsport School as a Result of a Complete but Honest Misunderstanding
DATE: April 14, 2017
CASE #: 17-008456
On April 14, 2017 at approximately 9:30 AM, a Kingsport Police Officer serving as a School Resource Officer was already on the campus of John Sevier Middle School, located at 1200 Wateree Street in Kingsport, when he was summoned outside to the area of the track. Due to the nature of the initial complaint, multiple additional Kingsport Police Patrol Officers responded as well.

The source of the complaint was a 70 year old man on the property. Students had reported to adult faculty members that they thought they heard the man say that he had a weapon. Students were immediately brought back inside the school and police were notified. After further investigation, this turned out to be a complete but honest misunderstanding.

The man in question lives in the adjacent neighborhood and walks to the Kingsport Senior Center every morning to exercise. He forgot that today was a City of Kingsport holiday, and found the Senior Center closed. On his way back home, he stopped under a shade tree at the edge of the school property to do some stretching exercises.

Several inquisitive students approached him and asked him what he was doing. He replied “Chi Gong.” Chi Gong, also spelled “Qigong,” is an Oriental exercise consisting of body posture, stretching, breathing, and meditation. Apparently the students completely misunderstood the term “Chi Gong” and mistakenly thought they heard him say the phrase “I have a gun.”

The man was sent on his way without further incident, and normal school activities commenced without further delay. The Kingsport Police Department and the Kingsport City Schools commend these students for promptly and courageously reporting what they perceived to be a dangerous situation on their school’s campus.

However, as previously stated, this was a complete but honest misunderstanding. No weapons were on the property, no threats of weapons were ever made, and no students or faculty were ever at any risk.

Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit

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