Affidavit alleges students heard threats
GENTRY — According to an affidavit of probable cause filed March 5 in the juvenile court of Benton County, a number of students interviewed stated that they heard a 16-yearold male student at Gentry High School say, “If I could hate, there would not be a school anymore,” and, “If I had a rifle, this school would be over.” He is also alleged to have said, “If it came down to it, I would probably be the one to shoot up the school,” and that he had “plenty of guns.”
In an interview with police, the student denied making such statements, according to the affidavit.
With the permission of the student’s mother, police searched the residence and vehicles associated with the residence for firearms and found none, according to the affidavit.
Based on the sworn affidavit, a warrant was issued and Gentry police, on March 5, arrested the 16-year-old Gentry High School student in connection with terroristic threatening in the first degree, a Class D felony, according to a March 5 news release issued by the police department.
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 the March 5 news release.
On Feb. 22, the school district released the following statement via social media: “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.”
On the afternoon of Feb. 23, no credible evidence had yet been found to substantiate the rumors being circulated and no witnesses had come forward who actually heard the alleged threats and no other evidence to substantiate the threats had been found, according to Gentry police chief Keith Smith. But that changed as the police continued to investigate and interviewed witnesses who alleged hearing the statements.