DeKalb County authorities arrest, charge man with criminal trespassing at Sylvania High School

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. - The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office arrested and charged a man with criminal trespassing after responding to a suspicious person call at Sylvania School Tuesday.

Sylvania High School was placed under heightened security Tuesday night after an unidentified male entered the school while students were rehearsing for a performance. According to authorities, several students claimed that the male appeared to have a firearm with him.

Cole Joseph Barnes (DeKalb County Sheriff's Office)


Faculty secured the building after noticing what was called "suspicious behavior."  When officers arrived, all buildings on school campus were searched and secured. The students were taken to safety and accounted for before being released to their families.

Unidentified man entered Sylvania school

After releasing a photo of the male to the public, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office says they received calls almost immediately concerning his name and whereabouts. After numerous tips and an investigation, authorities identified him as 21-year-old Cole Joseph Barnes. Authorities located Barnes at his home just a couple of miles from the school and detained him for questioning without incident.

During the investigation, it was determined that the firearm in question was actually a pellet pistol. After the investigation was concluded, Barnes was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal trespass, menacing and disorderly conduct. Barnes is currently being held in the DeKalb County Detention Center awaiting bond.

The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office, the Sylvania Police Department, the Rainsville Police Department, the Henagar Police Department, the Scottsboro Police Department, and the Alabama State Troopers all responded to the school.

“We appreciate every agency that responded to assist at Sylvania School. We are thankful for a great working relationship with all surrounding agencies. The protection of our children is of the utmost importance to us at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office," said Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson.