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Shooting threat aimed at schools ‘unfounded’ police say

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point police say it was a Snapchat post originating in North Carolina that prompted a lockout at all local schools.

Assistant Police Chief Tom Zenner said the parent of SPASH student alerted a police officer stationed at school about the social media post, which threatened a shooting on Oct. 18 at noon, but no location was given.

(Courtesy SPPD)

Detective Sgt. Brian Brooks said the post was shared several times before being tied to the Stevens Point area. The post had been circulating on social media for about two weeks, he said.

“I don’t like the word ‘hoax,’ because we don’t know the intent behind this,” Brooks said. “So this is ‘unfounded.'”

Superintendent Craig Gerlach said working with police, the district decided to place all local schools on lockout, meaning no one in or out of district buildings, while the threat was investigated. Students were notified of the lockout over the school’s PA system, he said.

Police briefly detained a 16-year-old male student, but the boy was released as questioning, and Zenner said the student “has been completely cleared” of any involvement in the threat.

Gerlach said the lockout was lifted shortly after 10 a.m., adding the district acted in the best interest of student safety.

“I’d much rather be up here having this press conference than another press conference,” Gerlach said.