Commonwealth Journal

News Live

December 16, 2013

Student charged with threatening to ‘shoot up’ SWHS

Somerset — A local high school student has been charged with terroristic threatening after he allegedly sent text messages about detonating bombs at his school to a fellow student.

A Southwestern High School student late Sunday reported to investigators with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department that several threatening text messages had been sent to his phone by another student.

“The texts suggested a fellow student was planning to detonate fire bombs and shoot up the school,” stated Lt. Det. Brett Whitaker, with the sheriff’s department, in a press release. “The text contained some specific information as to where the bombs would be placed and a time frame for the detonations.

“There was no indication of the date the assault was to take place,” Whitaker added.

Investigators swept SWHS early Monday morning, before students arrived on-campus, and determined it was safe. Sonya Wilds, assistant superintendent for Pulaski County Schools, confirmed that the investigation didn’t affect students at the high school.

“It (the investigation) transpired over the weekend,” said Wilds. “It has all been handled off school grounds.”

Whitaker said investigators identified the sender as a 15-year-old male SWHS student and interviewed him about the alleged threats.

“The student admitted to detectives that he had in fact sent the messages but could not explain to investigators why he sent them or suggest a motive for the threats,” Whitaker said.

The student was arrested Monday. Wilds said the student did not attend school Monday.

The student has not been identified because he is a juvenile.

The 15-year-old was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, which is a Class C felony.

This is the second such arrest in a month involving threatening text messages sent by a SWHS student. In mid-November, a 15-year-old female student was arrested and charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, a Class D felony, after she allegedly sent anonymous messages to two female classmates saying she was going to kill them and described the clothes the victims were wearing in the texts. She also sent a similar text message to herself, and what investigators called a “vulgar” message to another student, a male.

But Whitaker said the two situations are significantly different.

“This threat is different from the earlier one in that this student has an apparent desire to inflict harm  ... although he could not explain to us why he wanted to do so,” said Whitaker in an email to the Commonwealth Journal. “The earlier threats were made by a female student who wanted to ‘scare’ her friends in a prank threat.

“She meant no real harm in that incident,” added Whitaker.

But Whitaker said threatening messages — be they made through text or in any other form — in any context are taken seriously by law enforcement and educational staff members.

“Prank or real, we are going to take a zero tolerance approach to all threats made in a school environment,” said Whitaker.

Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood said he’s confident his department’s quick response to Sunday’s incident and the November incident are evidence that investigators take such situations seriously.

“I think we have made that clear in our actions,” said Wood. “People who choose to engage in such acts ... they will face consequences.”

Law enforcement officials and school officials alike have taken a stringent approach to such behavior in light of such events as the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people — 20 young elementary students and six adults — were killed. The one-year-anniversary of that incident was marked on Saturday, Dec. 14.

And one student was critically injured on Friday, Dec. 13, in a suburban Denver high school after a student entered the school with guns and smoke bombs and fired randomly into the hallways. The alleged gunman killed himself as law enforcement officials closed in.

“We want to thank the staff and faculty at the Southwestern High School who assisted us in this investigation,” said Wood. “Working hand-in-hand with our local schools helps us keep our schools safe and we will continue to strive to identify these types of threats before any harm can come to our children.”

Whitaker said they encourage anyone to report any suspicious behavior they may see.

“We want to encourage all students, faculty and parents to watch for any behavior that would suggest any student is thinking about harming others in our schools,” said Whitaker. “If they see any such ‘red flags’ we ask that they report that to us or school personnel as soon as possible.”

The student arrested on Monday was lodged in the Adair County Juvenile Detention Center.

 

1
Text Only
News Live
  • Elaine Wilson.jpg Law targeted local board member

    A local official currently serving on multiple boards capable of levying taxes could find herself having to resign from one of those entities due to a recently-passed law in Frankfort.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Judge rules for city in overtime case

    April 15, 2014

  • ROADS-KY 914 TREES CUT FOTO.JPG State road plan haggling won’t hinder bypass widening

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Warm weather interrupted by winter redux

    April 15, 2014

  • LaDonna Hurd.jpg Community rallying around volunteer firefighter with head injury

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • YEA student pic.jpg Program connects kids with business community

    They’re business-savvy, they’re motivated, and they’re ready to present their business ideas to the world.
    And they’re not yet out of high school.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seven charged in 2013 meth incident

    Seven people have been indicted in connection with a May 2013 incident in which they were allegedly found with a meth lab at a northern Somerset residence that had children inside.

    April 12, 2014

  • Kenneth Allen Keith Boyle County mug.jpg Accused killer’s status hearing delayed

    A status hearing for Kenneth Allen Keith, accused of killing three people in a Danville business in September 2013, has been delayed.
    Keith, 48, of Burnside, is accused of shooting and killing Michael Hockensmith, 35, Angela Hockensmith, 38, and Daniel P. Smith, 60, in a Sept. 20 incident in Danville.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kentucky dubbed ‘houseboat capital’ by lawmakers

    Lake Cumberland’s rising waters and reputation as a “Houseboat Lake” no doubt were inspiration for Kentucky Sen. Chris Girdler’s resolution naming Kentucky the “Houseboat Capital of the World.” The resolution was adopted recently by the Kentucky Senate, making the title official.
    The houseboat designation made national news. A story and photographs about Kentucky’s houseboat industry and Somerset being the birthplace of houseboat construction were published online March 27 by Houseboat Magazine, a Harris Publishing Store publication based in Idaho Falls, ID. Houseboat Magazine will host National Houseboat Expo 2014 June 6-8 at State Dock Marina on Lake Cumberland.

    April 10, 2014

  • FOUNTAIN FOTO DATED  FOR FRIDAY.JPG Flowing fountain downtown a sure sign of Spring

    By the time you read this, Somerset’s magnificent fountain, the centerpiece of Fountain Square, should be flowing for the 2014 season.
    “We hope to have it flowing by the end of today,” Tiffany Bourne, community development director for Pulaski County, said at midafternoon yesterday.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks