9/5/2013 5:07 PM
by Karen Franklin
HINTON - A Summers County police chief is hoping residents will continue to report crimes to law enforcement a day after a Hinton McDonald's employee allegedly threatened to kill his coworkers.
Hinton Police Chief Derek Snavely arrested 26-year-old Ronald Atwell Wednesday after the man allegedly made multiple threats to shoot up a Stokes Drive McDonald's with an AK-47-style rifle.
Police also said Atwell told select coworkers to call in sick if they didn't want to die.
"You can turn on the TV and weekly just about see some place where somebody went in with a gun and killed people, and I don't think it's a joking matter whatsoever," Snavely told WOAY.
Some Hinton-area residents told Newswatch they're happy that action was taken before it was too late.
"With the history of what's going on in this world today, they should take everything seriously because you never know," Sandstone resident Edna Harless said. "Life is just not as precious as it used to be."
Authorities spoke with several people before making the arrest. They said they perceived the threat as credible.
"It could have turned out terrible," Snavely said. "Could have been people killed, law enforcement and EMS in harms way. It could have been a tragedy."
Atwell remains in Southern Regional Jail on $25,000 bond.
"I have people I know work at McDonalds, and so many young teenagers work there the first job and to be frightened like that -- somebody's going to kill them," Harless said. "I don't know what the world's coming to."