RICHMOND – He did not shoot off a gun, but an 18-year-old Richmond High School junior did shoot off his mouth and police took him into custody for threatening violence Wednesday.

“There were some threats made that he wanted to use some sort of mortar rounds, Molotov cocktails, stuff like that, so that in itself indicates explosions,” Police Chief Chad Burnine said Thursday.

When threatening to “shoot up” the school, there is no clarity regarding whether the student meant to fire off mortar rounds or a gun.

“At this point, we can’t really distinguish what exactly ... his intention was,” Burnine said, “other than that he wanted to shoot up the school.”

Police searched the student’s locker, school building and the student’s residence.

“There wasn’t anything of concern located,” Burnine said.

The student has not been charged, and for that reason, his identity is not being made public, Burnine said.

After being notified Wednesday of the threat, Principal John Parker brought the student to the high school office and suspended him. Richmond Police then took the student into custody. 

A student making threats of harm to other students is not something the district can tolerate, Superintendent Mike Aytes said Thursday.

“It could be quite serious. Making a threat of school violence is one of those things,” Aytes said. “Sometimes, it’s a joke, and they said it jokingly, or whatever. I get the impression this was not that. This young man had a serious bent to (the threat).”

On the other hand, Aytes said, there is no record of the young man having been in trouble at school.

“This is a kid we’ve not had any major issues with,” he said.

Burnine said the student could be charged with making a bomb threat and with disorderly conduct.

“He was transported for a psychiatric evaluation,” Burnine said.

The Ray County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether and how to charge the student.

Burning said no one else is connected to making the threat.

Two students at the high school reported the threat to Parker. The students said “another student allegedly told them that he intended to shoot up the school and that he had a plan to do it,” Aytes stated in a letter to district patrons.

The students acted correctly to report the threat, Aytes said Thursday.

“I really do commend the two students for stepping forward. To me, that’s an indication of the fact that, number one, they knew what the right thing to do was; and, number two, they felt comfortable doing it. My personal opinion is that, if we ever had an incident like that, there’s no one other than John Parker that I would want at the helm,” Aytes said.

Aytes stated in the letter to patrons, “We do not believe any of the Richmond High School students were ever in danger and we have no reason to believe the student’s threats to be credible.”

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