Janitor accused of threatening to blow up school says he's innocent

Janitor accused of threatening to blow up school says he's innocent

AYDEN, PITT COUNTY - A janitor at Ayden Elementary accused of threatening to blow up the school told NewsChannel 12 he is innocent.

According to Sgt. Cameron Coburn of the Pitt County Sheriff's Office, 61-year-old Johnnie Cox was arrested and charged Friday with making a false report of mass violence on educational property.

Sgt. Coburn said Cox made comments to school officials Tuesday that he would blow up Ayden Elementary.

But Cox told NewsChannel 12 the accusations are untrue.

"I'm just wondering how all of this could come about. I'd never blow up the school. I don't have anything like that on my mind," Cox said. "People come out here and get me in handcuffs in front of all the people, and I was feeling like a fugitive. You know, I fought for my country. I've done all the fighting I'm going to do."

Cox was suspended from Ayden Elementary School Thursday morning.

"My principal called me into the office, and she told me I was suspended for threatening to blow up the school. She said she had a tip that someone told her," Cox explained.

Cox said he had planned on retiring in less than a month. He's been the head custodian at Ayden Elementary since 1997, but has been working at the school since 1992.

NewsChannel 12 also spoke with a woman who has three family members at Ayden Elementary. Although she did not want to state her name, she said she's concerned about the allegations against Cox.

"He had to have some kind of grief towards the school or something to make such an accusation. And yeah, it could have been a heated moment the thing he said. But what's to say it wasn't a true statement," the woman told NewsChannel 12.

Cox made his $3,000 bond and was released from jail at about 3 p.m. Friday, according to detention officers.

Cox is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday morning.

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