A juvenile suspect was taken into custody Monday evening in a case involving threats made against several local school districts.
Rusk County Sheriff's Office posted a media release to Facebook Monday evening announcing a suspect had been arrested by the Smith County Sheriff's Office and transported to the Rusk County Sheriff's Office. The suspect was then released to Rusk County juvenile authorities.
The release stated the threats were immediately investigated after law enforcement was made aware of them on Sunday. The threats implied violence would be targeted at West Rusk ISD, Henderson ISD, Chapel Hill ISD, Kilgore ISD and Overton ISD.
Multiple departments coordinated on the investigation, including West Rusk ISD Police Department, Henderson Police Department, Rusk County Sheriff's Office, Rusk County District Attorney's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Kilgore Police Department, Smith County Sheriff's Office, Rusk County Juvenile Probation, New London Police Department, Overton Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Overton ISD Superintendent Stephen DuBose sent out an emailed press release Monday evening after news broke of the suspect's arrest. The release stated Overton ISD school would resume a normal class schedule Tuesday, April 2 and any students absences from Monday would be excused.
Overton and Kilgore ISD did not cancel classes Monday because law enforcement said the threats were not credible. However, many area districts listed in the threats increased the presence of uniformed and plainclothes police officers and sheriffs on their campuses during Monday classes.
Police officers and school officials became aware of the threats Sunday when a parent brought the threat to their attention.
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.