Area schools increase police presence after threats

Social media posts once again put campuses on alert

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Online threats made against Kilgore ISD and other nearby school districts over the weekend are being described as not credible, but officers' presence at area schools has been increased as a precaution.

A Facebook post made by Kilgore PD Sunday evening described the situation as under investigation by KPD, West Rusk ISD police, Texas DPS, Texas Rangers and the FBI.

“Although no information has been discovered that would lend credibility to the threat, Kilgore Police Department will be out in force at all campuses starting Monday morning. The Kilgore Police Department will continue to work with Kilgore ISD to ensure the safety of all students and faculty until this situation is resolved,” the statement read.

Another post from KPD was made Monday morning, stating middle school students in another district were being interviewed as part of the investigation and the threats had come from a social media account which had been cloned last week.

KPD did not release specific information on which school district the interviewed students attended, as they are not the lead agency on the case. However, they did say they became aware of the threats after a concerned parent contacted them Sunday evening.

KISD classes continue as normal as KPD believes the threats are not credible. Uniformed and plainclothes officers are on Kilgore campuses today, including Gregg County Sheriffs and DPS Troopers.

KISD Superintendent Dr. Andy Baker said Sunday in a Facebook update the social media posts began the previous Saturday and were being investigated. The post reiterated the threats were not considered credible but precautions were being taken.

“KISD understands that this threat, even though it is being considered as not-credible, will increase the stress levels for our students, staff, parents, and community. Again, please know that KISD is currently working with and in constant communication with our Kilgore Police department and we ask for your patience and understanding as we all work together,” Baker wrote.

Overton ISD Superintendent Stephen DuBose also released a statement, saying the threats originated on the social media app Instagram and the district would also be increasing campus security.

“Overton Independent School District has been made aware of an Instagram post made on Saturday that makes a threat against the district. While the nature of the social media post does not appear to be of a credible nature, OISD will be instituting enhanced security measures including more Overton Police Officers on campus and intensive monitoring of security cameras as well as employing our security protocols to ensure the safety of students and employees. Law enforcement is actively seeking the source of the original Instagram and the public will be updated as appropriate,” DuBose wrote.

The threats come six months after a former Kilgore student used the social media messaging service Snapchat to make multiple threats against KISD schools and students. 19-year-old David Alexander Nelson, of Elderville, was arrested Oct. 26, two days after the threats were made. He was charged with making a terroristic threat against Kilgore and Longview high school and, in December, was indicted by a grand jury. He is currently held in the Gregg County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

KPD's Monday post concluded with a statement informing readers more information would be released as soon as KPD is able to do so.

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