Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb said his deputies and other police officers investigated a report that a student had planned on carrying a gun to Letcher Central High School last Friday, but determined the report was not credible.
“At no time did school officials or law enforcement feel that that the students and personnel at the school were in any danger,” Webb said in a statement to The Mountain Eagle this week.
After reports of the alleged threat began circulating on social media early last Friday, frightened parents began arriving at the school en masse to pick up their children. Deputy Sheriff Barry Engle, a retired Kentucky State Police Officer who helped conduct the investigation, said a total of 460 students were picked up by parents. Another 120 students did not show up for classes at all, Engle said. At least 960 students are enrolled at the school.
Engle and Webb said officers with the Kentucky State Police Special Investigations Unit and the Whitesburg Police Department also investigated the alleged threat and found the report to have no basis.
“Everyone needs to remember that everyone (in local law enforcement) has someone at Letcher Central, so decisions on safety are taken seriously,” Webb said. “Also, remember that the social media is a great way for people to pass on rumors and everything on social media is not the gospel.”
Following is the complete text of Webb’s statement:
“On Thursday night (October 6) the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department received a complaint that a student of Letcher Central High School was planning on bringing a gun to school on Friday.
“Deputy Scott Taylor and Whitesburg Chief of Police Tyrone Fields found the student that supposedly heard the threat made. However, the student advised that he did not hear the student make the threat, but another student told him that the student had made the threat. He also told officers that he did not remember who told him. It was determined that because of the late hour, it was going to be difficult to interview any students about the threat, so Deputy Taylor and Chief Fields went to the student in question to interview him about the threat.
“It was approximately 2:30 a.m. when they interviewed the student. The student denied making the threat. The officers talked to the student’s mother and advised her to keep her son at home until the threat could be properly investigated when the officials could access other students that may have heard the threat.
“The officers contacted the school officials and advised them that the threat had been neutralized for the time and that the sheriff would have officers there to follow up with the investigation on Friday.
“At no time did school officials or law enforcement feel that that the students and personnel at the school were in any danger.
“Scott Billiter told officers he would also notify the bus driver.
“Everyone needs to remember that everyone has someone at Letcher Central, so decisions on safety are taken seriously. Also, remember that the social media is a great way for people to pass on rumors and everything on social media is not the gospel.”