Voicemail threatening to ‘shoot up’ Free State High investigated by police, deemed not credible

photo by: Chris Conde

Lawrence Free State High School is pictured in September 2018.

Updated at 12:54 p.m., Tuesday

After someone left a voicemail on the Free State High answering machine threatening to “shoot up the school,” police investigated Tuesday morning and ultimately determined the threat wasn’t credible.

Sgt. Amy Rhoads of the Lawrence Police Department said in an email that Free State’s school resource officers “actively” investigated the voicemail as a possible threat. About 12:45 p.m., Rhoads said she was updated that the threat “was determined not to be credible and was determined to be made from the east coast,” though the investigation remained open.

In the message the caller threatened to “shoot up the school,” prompting school staff to notify police, district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said. Boyle said it appeared that the call, made by a juvenile, was dialed randomly and not specifically targeted to Free State.

“The Free State administration informed staff, students, and families of the investigation, and of their vigilance in ensuring safety precautions used daily are in place and in being watchful of anything out of the ordinary or suspicious,” Boyle said earlier Tuesday.

Principal Myron Graber emailed parents about the message and ensuing investigation shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, saying police did have information about where the call originated but without adding detail.

Graber wrote in his email that the school took all threats seriously but that they didn’t want to “overreact or cause panic over what may be a prank.”

“We have a police presence on campus,” Graber said. “We will be vigilant in ensuring our daily safety precautions are in place and watchful of anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.”

Free State has two school resource officers on its campus daily. Both are sworn Lawrence Police Department officers.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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