Af­fi­davit al­leges stu­dents heard threats

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS - By Randy Moll

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.

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