ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools police say surveillance video proves a child's story about a gunman trying to abduct her wasn't true.
Channel 2's Tom Jones spoke to the girl shortly after she says it happened. Jones said the girl was emotional, composed and the story never changed.
Jones said the child was like so many victims he’s interviewed over the years. But police say none of it was true.
“We understood right away that something wasn't right,” Atlanta Public Schools Police Chief Ron Applin.
After talking to students, teachers and looking at surveillance video, school police said they determined the 8-year-old Deerwood Academy student's claims that a gunman tried to abduct her from the school's playground never happened.
“APSPD has notified the students family that these allegations are unfounded,” Applin said.
Police say her story changed substantially during an interview. Applin said there was a stranger walking near the playground.
“In our screen shot we see an unknown male,” Applin said.
The chief said the man walked near the playground but stayed on the sidewalk.
Video of the playground is obstructed by a tree. There's 24 seconds you can't see the man. The chief said that's insignificant.
“She's not near him,” Applin said.
The chief said the video shows teachers watching the playground.
He played a call where dispatch contacted Atlanta police an hour after school police found out about the alleged incident.
“As soon as we found out we contacted them. That's what we do,” Applin said.
One parent told Jones she was ready to remove her child from the school after hearing the allegations. Now she feels bad about that.
“I was wrong in thinking bad of the school," the parent said, not identifying herself.
Police say they were notified about an hour after the incident because a teacher didn't report accurately what the child claimed happened.
Police say they knew immediately this didn't add up, but they waited four more days before clearing it all up.
The school says a fence will be added to the playground area.
Cox Media Group