Two high schoolers were taken into police custody Tuesday after a call into a crime tip line alleged the students were planning a school shooting.
The two male students, both sophomores at Pawnee High School in Pawnee, Okla., allegedly made the threats while playing Fortnite, a popular online multi-player video game, reports Stillwater News Press.
Pawnee County Sheriff Mike Waters said while playing the video game, the pair discussed a plan to carry out a mass shooting and then commit suicide. A player outside the U.S. reportedly called in the tip to Oklahoma City CrimeStoppers.
The tip was then forwarded to Pawnee Police Chief Wesley Clymer, who informed Pawnee Schools Superintendent Ned Williams of the threat.
“We grabbed that tip, we came over here, we coordinated with the Sheriff’s office and several deputies and began an investigation,” Clymer said. “So we got with the school, gathered some information from them, kind of put them on alert, communicated with each other. Even had contact with some state level and federal level agencies.”
Authorities were able to locate the boys and placed them in custody after finding evidence linking them to the alleged threat. They were released on bond Thursday into the custody of their parents. The charges on which they were detained are part of the sealed juvenile record.
“We always say ‘see something, hear something, say something. And thank goodness the reporting party said something,” Williams said. “With these other school shootings across the country, there have been so many missed signs, but this time, someone said something.”
A message was also sent through the school’s notification system alerting parents of the threat.
Pawnee Public Schools, which serves about 800 K-12 students, will have officers on campus during the first week of classes and extra patrols afterward as a precaution.
Williams said the school recently added extra security measures, including cameras surrounding each building and requiring anyone who visits the school to be buzzed in through locked doors while appearing on a surveillance camera monitored by front office staff, according to The Cleveland American.
“It is sad it has gotten to this point, but we will continue to increase our security,” he said. “School settings in America are changing daily and it is difficult sometimes to keep students safe because of the unknown. But just because it is difficult doesn’t mean we are going to stop.”
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