Eau Claire police evacuated Memorial High School students and staff mid-morning Wednesday after a threat was discovered in one of the building's bathrooms, according to police and the Eau Claire school district.
The threats, written in red marker on the wall, read “Get your students out B4 I kill them! If you don’t they will die! I have a bomb and loaded gun.”
Police have not yet found the person or group responsible and are currently investigating. Anyone who recognizes the handwriting can contact Sgt. Ben Frederick at 715-839-4990. To report information anonymously, contact Crime Stoppers at 715-874-TIPS or eauclairecountycrimestoppers.org.
"There was a high degree of specificity to the threat," said deputy chief Matt Rokus. "It was specific in nature, which made it more concerning."
Police were informed of the threat shortly before 10 a.m., and evacaution took place at 11:15 a.m. Students with personal transportation were dismissed for the day, and those who rely on the bus system were transported to UW-Eau Claire's McPhee Physical Education Center. From there, students either took another bus home or had a guardian pick them up, according to a school district email.
UW-Eau Claire students and staff were notified via email of the evacuees headed to campus.
Of Memorial's 1,600 student population, roughly one-third took the bus, Rokus said.
“Eau Claire Student Transit really contributed to this event as well,” said Public Information Officer Bridget Coit. “Pre-planning with them to make sure those bus drivers and buses are available for an event like this — they were very prompt in their response.”
Rokus said response plans to incidents such as this were pre-planned with the Eau Claire school district. He said students and staff will not return to school today while police continue to investigate and develop a safety plan with the school district for Thursday.
“Right now our focus is on getting all of the students safely home,” said Mary Ann Hardebeck, superintendent of schools.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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