Starting about a week ago, there were some threats at the high school here in Gillette. In Gillette, we have one high school, but two campuses, North and South. At North Campus in the last week, the following have taken place:
- Last week, someone scribbled messages on a girl’s bathroom stall claiming to shoot and kill at the school Monday
- Around the same time, Rocky Mountain Sports employees told deputies that an underage girl tried to buy a gun and other equipment at the store
- Tuesday, a caller, who police now suspect is the 17-year-old who has been arrested, played off these fears by claiming to be wrong about something bad happening on Monday. Instead, the caller claimed something would happen the following day, prompting an evacuation
- School officials found more notes on Wednesday, including one on a bathroom window sill, in which the writers made further threats.
Tuesday’s scare came after threats last week that prompted many parents to keep their children out of school Monday. 583 students out of the total 1,387 enrolled were absent.
Tueday, the North Campus was evacuated around 1pm while Gillette Police and Campbell County firefighters searched the school for suspicious items. Students were let back into the building shortly before 3pm without incident. Police arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of terroristic threats, a felony, at about 10:30am on Wednesday. The boy was not a student at the high school and was already wanted on suspicion of burglary as a runaway.
Wednesday, school officials found "cause to be nervous" at South Campus which prompted a lockdown of the building. For the remainder of the week, students at both campuses will be searched upon entry and a lockdown will be in place. This means that they will not be able to leave campus for lunch as they have for the past 20+ years. This will be reevaluated Friday and a decision will be made whether to continue the searches and lockdowns.
As of Thursday afternoon, investigators suspect four more juveniles of making the threats that led to Tuesday’s evacuation. Officers arrested a 16-year-old boy, also a runaway, on suspicion of interference when they arrested the 17-year-old.