Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Bomb, gun threat closes Memorial High School; will reopen Thursday

Messages written on 2 restroom stall dividers warn of death

  • con-threat1-110917

    Two threats that were written on Memorial High School restroom stall dividers were found Wednesday morning, leading to an evacuation of the school and cancellation of classes for the rest of the day. Classes resume Thursday with heightened security from school staff and Eau Claire police.

    Contributed photo

  • con-threat2-110917-1

    Two threats that were written on Memorial High School restroom stall dividers were found Wednesday morning, leading to an evacuation of the school and cancellation of classes for the rest of the day. Classes resume Thursday with heightened security from school staff and Eau Claire police.

    Contributed photo

  • mw-threat-1a-110917

    Memorial High School students were evacuated and transported late Wednesday morning to UW-Eau Claire’s McPhee Physical Education Center after a written threat were found in a restroom. View more photos at LeaderTelegramPhotos.com.

    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik
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Eau Claire district officials have increased security at Memorial High School after a written threat was discovered Wednesday morning in a restroom.

“Memorial staff will maintain a heightened presence in the hallways, commons and other student areas,” schools Superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck said. “Also, there will be an increased police presence both in the school and on the campus.”

Classes will resume today as Eau Claire police continue their investigation.

Police evacuated students and staff midmorning Wednesday after the threat was discovered. Students and staff did not return to the school that day as police investigated.

The threats, written in red marker on restroom stall partitions, read, “Get your students out B4 I kill them!” and “If you don’t they will die! I have a bomb and loaded gun”

“There was a high degree of specificity to the threat,” police Deputy Chief Matt Rokus said. “It was specific in nature, which made it more concerning.”

Police were informed of the threat shortly before 10 a.m., and evacuation took place at 11:15. 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 about the evacuees headed to campus.

Of Memorial’s 1,600 students, roughly one-third took the bus, Rokus said.

“Eau Claire Student Transit really contributed to this event as well,” police spokeswoman Bridget Coit said. “Preplanning with them to make sure those bus drivers and buses are available for an event like this — they were very prompt in their response.”

Memorial senior Tyler Nichols was in statistics class when a voice came over the loudspeakers announcing that students and staff were not to leave their classrooms. After 45 minutes, teachers received an email about the evacuation, Nichols said. He packed his car with other students and drove away.

“It makes you feel uneasy knowing that somebody like that goes to my school,” Nichols said.

“It’s not acceptable, even if it was a joke.”

Contact: 715-830-5828, lauren.french@ecpc.com, @LaurenKFrench on Twitter

Call Police If You Know: Police have not yet found the person or group responsible for the threat and are still 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.


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