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Ponoka youth arrested in school threat incident

A 17-year-old Ponoka youth was arrested after police found rifles and ammunition in his possession at his home on Friday.

The student was charged in connection to alleged threats involving Ponoka Composite High School.

The incident was one of two unrelated threats involving guns at schools in Central Alberta on Friday.

Wolf Creek Public School District contacted the police about the potential threat and the Ponoka school was put in lockdown mode.

Police officers patrolled area schools as they tried to locate the suspect. Students were sent home at 11 a.m.

The youth, who cannot be named, faces charges of uttering threats, unsafe storage of firearms and possession of weapons dangerous to public peace. The guns involved a .22 calibre and high-powered rifle. A tentative court date of Friday is scheduled.

Police are not releasing further information at this time.

Also Friday, two Rocky Mountain House schools were closed following a rumour that a student was bringing a gun to the West Central High School.

As a safety precaution, Wild Rose Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools cancelled classes at West Central High School and St. Dominic Catholic High School. The two schools share space in the Confluence Campus building.

Supt. Brian Celli of Wild Rose Public Schools said police alerted school officials about a potential threat around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“There were rumours of a possible gun that would be coming to school at West Central,” said Celli. “My understanding was a student had contacted them with this information.”

Celli said the student was not named and that was part of the problem because it was a lot of “somebody heard.”

Because the two schools are under the same roof, the two boards made the joint decision around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“We were both comfortable erring on the side of caution,” said Celli. “I am really hoping tomorrow people will say I overreacted.”

The other schools were kept open but were in lockdown mode because the threat was specific to West Central. Celli said they hope to track down the student who started the rumour and the student who allegedly was planning to bring a firearm into the high school.

Meanwhile in Leduc, police officers investigated another potential threat at a school after someone posted a comment on a social media website on Thursday. The comment stated that children from a school would be hurt. No specific schools were named.

Leduc RCMP tracked down a youth in Devon. There were no firearms located in the person’s home. The youth is under adult supervision. Police say there is no indication the person was going to carry out his threat.

crhyno@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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