Police: Later post on Centerville HS gun incident caused more investigation

Police are encouraging students to act quickly in reporting suspicious activity following the arrest of two Centerville High School students after a gun was found on campus. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

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Police are encouraging students to act quickly in reporting suspicious activity following the arrest of two Centerville High School students after a gun was found on campus. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

CENTERVILLE — Police are encouraging students to act quickly in reporting suspicious activity following the arrest of two Centerville High School students after a gun was found on campus.

A social media post Friday morning led to the teens’ arrests, and district officials and police found “there was never any imminent threat to the staff and students of CHS,” according to a statement from Superintendent Tom Henderson.

But more posts Saturday stemming from the incident involving a rifle in a student’s vehicle prompted confusion, leading authorities to further investigate to ensure any gun issues were resolved, said John Davis, Centerville police spokesman.

The Saturday postings involved a photo shared on Snapchat in an attempt to find out more information about the Friday incident, he said.

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“It was not a threat per se,” Davis said. “But by the time it got shared hundreds of times (and) people kept adding their little pieces to it, the next thing you know it looks like there’s a threat to the school.”

A Centerville detective and one from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office worked for hours Saturday tracking that day’s post before finding it was from a 2018 New Mexico issue mistaken for the Centerville incident, Davis said.

“Your first inclination shouldn’t be to try to ... share that image,” he said. “Go give that image to somebody who can do something about it and make sure we don’t have a tragedy.”

This news organization has made a public records request for a copy of the police report involving the arrests.

The Friday incident involved a 15-year-old female student who had made threats against the school, and a 16-year-old male student who brought a gun on campus, authorities said.

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Police received the call about 9 a.m., and within 20 minutes the issue was resolved, Davis said.

“Given the circumstances, the system we had in place worked perfectly,” he said. “We identified the potential threat and within very short order ... we had everything secure.”

Police said it was likely an oversight on the boy’s part, as he had reportedly gone on a recent hunting trip and had not removed the gun from his car. The girl then took a picture of it in his car and posted it on Snapchat, along with a threat.

Both students were taken to the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Center on Friday morning, Davis said.

The girl was charged with making terroristic threats, and the boy was charged with illegal conveyance of a weapon on school grounds.

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