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Teen arrested in connection with school bomb threat

An 18-year-old Lacombe man has been arrested in connection with a spray-painted bomb threat that led to the evacuation of Ecole James S. McCormick School on Monday.

Lacombe Police Service said the teen, who has not been named, is co-operating with police. He claimed the message that said there was a bomb inside the school was a prank and no harm was meant to students or staff.

The teen is facing a number of charges, including uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, conveying false messages, mischief to property and causing police to enter into a false investigation.

He has been released from custody and is expected to make his first court appearance in Red Deer next month.

Lacombe Police Service Insp. Steve Murray said while the man’s name is normally released once charges are sworn, the man’s identity will not be disclosed for now because emotions are running so high in the community.

About 500 students and 50 staff were evacuated at the start of the school day after a bomb threat was found scrawled on an outside wall.

Lacombe Police Service was notified after the spray-painted message that there was a bomb inside the school was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Four police officers were dispatched immediately to the school.

“While there was little evidence to suggest the threat was real, the safety of the children and staff was the paramount concern so a decision was made early on to evacuate the students from J.S. McCormick to nearby Lacombe Upper Elementary School,” says a release from Lacombe police and Wolf Creek Public Schools.

The orderly evacuation took about 10 minutes and then police searched the school with the help of a Red Deer RCMP dog team. Nothing unusual was found.

Wolf Creek officials decided not to send the children back to the school, and parents were called and buses brought in to take students home.

In an interview on Monday before the alleged culprit was arrested, Insp. Murray took a dim view of the hoax.

“Several hundred people had their lives uprooted today because of these knuckleheads,” he said.

He compared it to people who foolishly make jokes about bombs in airport security checkpoint lines.

“With everything that’s going on it’s so callous and so irresponsible to make any sort of comment like that about a public school. It’s almost reprehensible the grief that these people or person put the parents through today.

“So we’ve got to treat it pretty serious.”

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