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December 18, 2018

2/21/2018 2:04:00 PM
Area 12-year-old faces felony charge following threats
Local law enforcement is taking all threats seriously after the shooting that killed 17 in Florida.

"Threats of school shootings are very serious matters that the State's Attorney's Office and all members of law enforcement in Crawford County take very seriously," Crawford County State's Attorney Matthew Hartrich told the Daily News. "While my office is unaware of any such threats in our community, the State's Attorney's Office would prosecute and punish anyone that would make such threats in Crawford County. This type of behavior is unacceptable."

"We have to take everything seriously," said Robinson Chief of Police Chad Weaver. "It may be a drain on resources, but we jump full in to determine if it is a legitimate threat."

As many of the threats are posted to social media or instant-messaging sites, outside resources are need to follow up in identifying suspects. Weaver said this is one area, with technology moving so fast, in which Robinson cannot afford to keep up with in regards to equipment and training, so they farm out these investigations to the Illinois State Police. Weaver said they also have federal connections to help investigate if a threat is considered imminent or more credible.

This response from local authorities comes in the wake of a 12-year-old girl's recent arrest after making online threats toward students and staff at a school in western Indiana, as well as similar incidents in the region.

Sullivan County sheriff's officials say tips helped authorities find the girl Monday. Investigators believe she's responsible for threats via Snapchat. Sheriff Clark Cottom says no weapons were found and she faces a felony charge of intimidation.

The case is among about a dozen involving school threats in Indiana since the shooting last week at a Florida high school that killed 17.

Police arrested two boys in suburban Indianapolis following threats on social media that were directed at Carmel High School. And in southwestern Indiana, four Warrick County schools started the school day on alert Monday after a shooting threat on Snapchat.

A school threat in Vandalia earlier this week turned out to be a prank, but police are taking it very seriously. Police Chief Jeff Ray says that his department was notified of a possible threat at Vandalia High School on Feb. 14. The report said a student had made comments about having a plan to do a shooting in the school.

Police spoke to the juvenile that allegedly made the statement and other witnesses. The juvenile claimed to be joking around. The juvenile was placed under arrest.

Ray adds they take the statements of this type very seriously. Vandalia police say they were unaware of any other threat or incidents other than this one on Wednesday.

An Ottawa High School student allegedly made threats of harm against unnamed and unspecified individuals Thursday, Feb 15.

According to a post on the school's website, the student was located by the Ottawa Police Department shortly after school officials were made aware of the issue.

"The district was fortunately made aware of the alleged threats due to the thoughtful and proactive actions of other students who reported them to district personnel," the post from superintendent Michael Cushing read.

Cushing said the threat was something that had been reported to Ottawa administration and did not stem from a social media post.

Cushing credited the "See Something, Say Something" movement for helping alert district officials to the threat of violence.

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