The first threat was fireworks, the second is voicemails

The first threat was fireworks, the second is voicemails

Police investigate Renton school threats

Three threatening messages left at the Risdon Middle School office over the weekend of Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 has caused Newcastle Police Department to ask the public for help identifying the caller.

While under investigation, officers will remain at Risdon and other schools in the area, out of “an overabundance of caution for the safety of the students and faculty.”

Risdon, part of Renton School District and located in the city of Newcastle, received three voicemails over the weekend. All were less than 10 seconds in length. The caller said people should not come to school Monday, Feb. 3, and in one voicemail referenced “shooting up the place.”

All messages sounded like the same person and the voice sounded like that of a teenager. No specific faculty or students were mentioned according to Newcastle police.

Police in Newcastle have special training to respond to acts of violence at schools and workplaces, and have specialized equipment for these types of instances.

“(Newcastle police) takes this and all types of threats very seriously and we are diligently working in partnership with Renton School District to identify the suspect,” the release states. Those with information are asked to call 206-296-3311.

If identified, the person(s) will face felony charges. Earlier last week, Renton schools faced a similar threat to Hazen High School, and the student involved in the separate case now faces charges.

On Jan. 28, Renton Police Department officers responded to Hazen for reports of shots fired. While students attempted to leave the school, several suffered minor injuries, including a possible fractured hand. The sound turned out to be fireworks in the school.

The student involved in the fireworks was identified as a 16-year-old student. Following the firework incident, the student posted a video of a “random subject firing an automatic rifle” and in their caption made threatening comments that cause safety concerns for parents, students and district staff, according to Renton police.

He is now facing possible criminal charges, including felony harassment, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief and possession of fireworks within Renton city limits, according to police.

Additional security staff was also stationed around Hazen following the incident, and counselors are available for students who witnessed the firework event. Any additional information on the case can be offered to Hazen School Resource Officer at rmcgruder@rentonwa.gov, reference case #20-1123.


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