SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Salina Police Department has arrested four boys after investigating an alleged threat to shoot up the school.
According to SPD, a student overheard a conversation at lunch Thursday. The student told police that one boy made a statement to three other boys regarding shooting up the school. The student who reported it to the police said that all four boys then put their hands together, possibly indicating they were all in agreement to participate. Police described it as a handshake.
The student who witnessed this alleged incident was alarmed and reported it to their parent, who reported it to authorities.
The school resource officers and school officials reviewed a video recording from the school cafeteria and identified the four boys.
The school resource officer and detectives say they established probable cause to arrest the four students on suspicion of aggravated criminal threat. The students who were arrested are a 17-year-old, a 16-year-old, and two 15-year-olds. Police booked them into juvenile detention.
SPD has submitted an arrest affidavit to the county attorney’s office for possible charges.
“This is an example where a citizen’s tip has led to the quick arrest of individuals involved in criminal acts committed at Salina South High School,” Salina Interim Police Chief Sean Morton said in a news release.
He encouraged parents to talk to their children about reporting suspicious activity or criminal acts. Students should tell their parents, school officials, or the police.
SPD has investigated at least 14 criminal threat cases at Salina middle and high schools so far this school year. Some of the investigations have led to arrests, but some have not.
Morton said the SPD takes the threats seriously and will investigate all of them, but he said they are a drain on the police department and on USD 305 resources.
“As your Chief of Police and a parent, I strongly encourage all parents to have a conversation with their children about the seriousness of making these types of threatening statements,” he said. “Whether it is a written message on a bathroom stall, a posting on social media, a chat message, or verbally, no one knows the actual intent behind the threat. There also needs to be an understanding [that] the Kansas criminal threats statute includes language that if a threatening statement is made with reckless disregard of the risk of causing fear or evacuation, lockdown or disruption in regular ongoing activities, it is a violation of the law. This also include the act of calling in a false threat of an activate shooter at any location. So, this isn’t a joke, and it is serious.
“Before doing something that students think would be funny or they think would be a joke, students need to think about the consequences; being handcuffed, being fingerprinted, having a mug photo taken, being booked into juvenile detention, being involved in the juvenile criminal justice system, having a criminal record, fines, attorney’s fees, possibly being ineligible for college scholarships or being unable to enlist in the military.”
If you have information relative to this case, you can submit an anonymous tip to Salina/Saline County Crime Stoppers by calling 785-825-8477 or by clicking here. You may receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.
Tipsters may also contact the SPD at 785-826-7210.