May 12, 2017 - By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff WriterA 17-year-old student was arrested and charged Thursday with felony juvenile delinquency connected to terroristic threats after he allegedly left a note in the commons area of Riverton High School threatening an attack akin to the 1999 Columbine massacre.
Riverton Police Department Capt. Todd Byerly said the note found Tuesday suggested "violence similar in nature could take place at (RHS)."
The 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado killed 12 students and one teacher, while injuring 21 others in one of the highest profile mass shootings to date.
"(RPD) will not tolerate or expect the community to tolerate any form of violence, especially the threat of harm to our children," Byerly said. "Any reference to violence is in distaste and disturbing to normal human emotion."
The RPD and school officials put out statements Tuesday night alerting the city of the "general threat." As a result, only about half of students in the district came to class the next day.
Police, some armed with AR-15s, surrounded schools in the district Wednesday, hoping to deter any possible attack. Seven officers were stationed at RHS, with two at Riverton Middle School and one at each elementary school.
"We had a great deal of trauma with our students (on Wednesday)," Fremont County School District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder said. "I want everyone to know that when these kinds of things come up, we are going to deal with them seriously."
He said the student who made the threat will be expelled at the next school board meeting but should also "suffer the consequences" of a legal conviction.
Fremont County Attorney Pat LeBrun, who filed charges against the student, praised the work that was done to protect the schools while officials quickly identified the perpetrator of the threat.
"In my 15 years of doing this, I've never seen a better coordinated effort between a police department and a school district," he said.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.