Threat against school deemed not credible; investigation continues

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities investigated another Indianapolis-area school threat Thursday.

Police said this one was first reported at Decatur Township schools but ended at another district. Officials said the threat was not credible and they did not see a reason to close the school. 

Police warn that even if the threats are not credible, there can be very serious consequences.

The Department of Homeland Security is one of the law enforcement agencies investigating the incident.

“We received another threat this morning that we were able to mitigate down. There was no compromise or any issues with the, another school district,” said Director Gary Coons.

Because it’s an open investigation, Coons did not want to release many details but said this threat, and a large majority of others, was not a “legitimate” threat.

Although they have evolved from phone to online, school threats are nothing new. But the number of threats that law enforcement is seeing is new.

“Here lately, it’s been more prevalent. With the internet it gets out to the, the public sees it fairly quickly. A lot of kids see it fairly quickly,” said Coons.

Just Sunday, Perry Meridian High School received an online threat. The 15-year-old student was in police custody within nine hours. On Wednesday, police arrested him.

“Our biggest thing is to get out in front of this to make sure that students know, families know, we take this serious,” said Coons.

Perry Meridian School Officials said the suspect is not allowed on school grounds and expulsion proceedings are underway. But perhaps the most severe punishment will be handed down by law enforcement. The 15-year-old is now at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center facing charges of intimidation and false reporting.

“The message that’s out there is we take this serious. We will file charges that are pretty serious and it affects you the rest of your life,” said Coons.

It’s a message that the Plainfield Police Department echos. Captain Jill Lees has been inundated with phone, emails, and social media messages from concerned parents and community members. Ongoing threats promising blood baths at schools, the mall, and other public places have rocked the community.

“We’re trying to assure people that these aren’t credible threats. This person has been threatening for weeks and weeks now and not followed through with any of the threats,” said Captain Lees.

Police conducted search warrants in connection with the case, but the suspect is still at large. On Tuesday, more threats surfaced on Facebook. To address the community’s concerns, there will be a public forum. It’ll take place on Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Plainfield High School auditorium.

Officials from the Town of Plainfield, Plainfield Police Department, Indiana State Police and the FBI are expected to be in attendance. It’ll be a question and answer session to allow community members to address concerns firsthand. However, authorities said they won’t be able to give specific information about the ongoing investigation.

In a statement, Perry Township Schools Superintendent Thomas Little Jr. said this regarding the recent threat:

“We are thankful for the support and hard work of both IMPD and Homeland Security on this issue.  Homeland Security and IMPD worked through the night to trace the author of this threat. In a matter of nine hours, IMPD officers were standing on this young man’s doorstep at 4:00 a.m. with a warrant to search the home. Threats of violence will not be tolerated in Perry Township and dealt with in swift and severe manner. This individual is placed on no trespass of school grounds and expulsion proceedings are underway.

We are pleased with the stance that the prosecutors’ office has taken in the severity of the charges posed. This stance reinforces the importance of maintaining the safety and security of the children placed under our care.  Children learn by example and the arrest, prosecution, and hopefully severe punishment will serve as an example of a behavior that simply will not be tolerated. We have faith in the justice system that appropriate consequences for inappropriate actions will be the final action taken on this case.

We also hope this young man receives the counseling and support necessary to never act in this manner again.”

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