School volunteer charged with threatening Gov. Nikki Haley - FOX Carolina 21

School volunteer charged with threatening Gov. Nikki Haley

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Liberty police officers walk Jennifer Phillips out of the police department to take her to the Pickens Co. Detention Center. (Dec. 4, 2012/FOX Carolina) Liberty police officers walk Jennifer Phillips out of the police department to take her to the Pickens Co. Detention Center. (Dec. 4, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Jennifer Phillips (Pickens Co. Detention Center) Jennifer Phillips (Pickens Co. Detention Center)
LIBERTY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Gov. Nikki Haley was making two stops in Pickens County on Tuesday morning where local police said a woman was in custody after making a threat against the governor.

Liberty police said they have a woman in custody who is accused of making a threat against Haley on Tuesday morning. Haley had a stop at Liberty Elementary School at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to speak at the Easley Rotary Club meeting at the William A. Carr Conference Center at 12:30 p.m.

John Eby, spokesman for the School District of Pickens County, said about 8:30 a.m. a parent volunteer at Liberty Elementary was talking to a school staff member when she made a remark about harming the governor. The staff member contacted the principal who in turn called police, who responded to the school and took the woman into custody, Eby said.

The woman was not at the school for the governor's visit, but was there helping another program and was already gone before Haley's arrival, Eby said.

"A staff member made a difficult decision but the right one, and did exactly what needed to be done," Eby said. "We hope what was said wasn't meant seriously, but it had to be taken seriously nonetheless."

Haley's stop at Liberty Elementary was to talk with third- through fifth-graders about leadership and bullying prevention.

Police said they charged Jennifer Johnson Phillips, 46, of Liberty, with threatening the life of a public official. According to the police report, Phillips told a school counselor that "I am going to smuggle a gun in and kill this governor." When asked about the comment by police, Phillips said she didn't mean anything by the comment and did not own a gun, the report said.

Officers said Phillips had a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon at the Pickens County Detention Center. She faces up to a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail if convicted, police said.

As for Phillips' status as a volunteer, Eby said, "She will not be allowed to continue on as a volunteer. We have not made a decision at this point as to whether she will be put on a permanent no trespass from the school."

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