Investigation of rumors leads to arrest
GENTRY — Police in Gentry, on Monday, arrested a 16-yearold male Gentry High School student in connection with terroristic threatening in the first degree, a Class D felony, according to a Monday police department news release.
The Gentry Police Department received information about a possible threat at the Gentry High School on Feb. 22. School officials told police that several students were reporting rumors they were hearing, which were alarming in nature, involving threats of violence against the school.
“After further investigation, it was determined there was enough evidence to support an arrest warrant being issued,” Keith Smith, Gentry chief of police, said in a Monday release.
“The Gentry Police Department takes the safety of our schools, students and faculty very seriously and pledges to investigate every threat and prosecute those responsible to the fullest,” the release states.
In a Feb. 23, article, the Eagle Observer reported: “Police officers and sheriff’s deputies were at the doors of Gentry High School on Friday to ensure the safety of students following rumors which circulated via social media that a student had threatened to carry out a shooting at a school event Friday (Feb. 23).
“The school district released the following statement via social media on Thursday afternoon: ‘Please be aware that a rumor was circulating at GHS today that caused some concern. As a precaution, while investigating the matter, Superintendent Metz made the decision to cancel the Macho Volleyball Game scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The rumor has been investigated by the administration and the local police. The rumor was unfounded. As a precaution, the local police department will provide an increased presence around the campuses tomorrow.’
“According to Keith Smith, chief of the Gentry Police Department, no credible evidence had yet been found to substantiate the rumors being circulated. He said his officers are continuing to investigate every lead but, as of Friday morning, no witnesses had come forward who actually heard the alleged threats and no other evidence to substantiate the threats had been found.
“Smith said his department was continuing to follow up on every lead and asked anyone who had heard threats or had any first-hand information on the alleged threats to contact his department immediately. He said his department would turn over any witness statements or evidence received to the prosecuting attorney and request prosecution to the full extent of the law.
“Terrie Metz, the superintendent of Gentry Public Schools, said the school district is working with police to follow up on any new information it obtains in regard to the alleged threat.
“Gentry Police Department released the following information via its Facebook page Thursday night (Feb. 22) in regard to the alleged threat: ‘The Gentry Police Department, in conjunction with the Gentry School District, is currently looking into rumors of threats made by a student to possibly bring a gun to school and use it during a pep rally.
“‘Please be assured that the Gentry Police Department takes any and all threats made towards our students and faculty with the highest level of seriousness.
“‘We are looking into every lead with the utmost diligence, and if the threats are found to have any validity at all, we will pursue criminal charges and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
“‘However, there have been many unsubstantiated rumors going around on this subject. Everyone should know that spreading false information or false leads will not help anyone in this situation.
“‘With that being said, if anyone has any pertinent information pertaining to this threat, please call the Gentry Police Department immediately.’”
Anyone with information may call the Gentry Police Department at 479-7368400.