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Police investigate threats report at Prescott Middle School

Extra police presence was deployed Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Prescott Middle School in the wake of suspected threats made the previous night during a volleyball game. File photo

At least two students have been questioned about their role in a suspected shooting threat involving Prescott Middle School that unfolded late Tuesday.

Prescott Interim Police Chief Rob Funk said officers intervened after receiving information about threats made during Tuesday night’s girls volleyball game.

“The alleged threat has been thwarted,” he said.

The incident, which was still being investigated Wednesday afternoon, involved a shooting threat at the middle school, according to Prescott School District Superintendent Rick Spicuzza.

“The good news is there was quick action,” he said, crediting a parent for passing along information about the threat to police. “We knew the school was going to be safe for this morning.”

There was no immediate evidence that an attack was imminent, but Spicuzza said the information indicated it was to occur Wednesday morning.

“There’s nothing to suggest right now .. that would indicate that there was a delivery system or a formulated plan,” Funk said.

While it may have been a matter of students “saying things that they probably shouldn’t be saying,” Spicuzza said the comments were especially alarming on the heels of last month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

“We have to treat it as a serious threat,” he said. “It’s not a game.”

Funk said police, along with Pierce County Sheriff’s Office deputies, were sorting through interviews, social media posts and data possibly related to the incident.

Officials didn’t specify the number of students involved or the precise nature of the threat. Spicuzza said “they are serious enough that they could rise to” the level of expulsion, but that an outcome wouldn’t be clear until after a full investigation.

“We’ll be as aggressive as we need to be to make sure that our students and staff are safe,” he said.

Funk said that, if substantiated, the threats will be referred to juvenile court.

Students at the middle school arrived to find a heightened police presence. No lockdown protocol went into place. Funk said the police presence was mainly a precautionary measure since the suspects had been interviewed in the intervening hours.

Spicuzza called the parent who alerted police to the incident a “hero.”

“They did the right thing,” he said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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