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Threats made to multiple New Haven schools not credible, student arrested: officials

Police investigated all the reported threats before the lockdowns were lifted.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A 17-year-old student was arrested Monday and another young person in a different state is under investigation after threats were made to multiple schools in New Haven, sparking lockdowns and early dismissal.

At least eight schools were impacted by the threats that begin around 9 a.m. Monday morning.

It all started when the New Haven Police Department received a 9-1-1 call from a student at Wilbur Cross High School reporting that an individual with a gun was in the area and attempting to enter the building, police Chief Renee Dominguez said during a news conference Monday afternoon

A school resource officer (SRO) at the school immediately notified the principal and put the school on lockdown, she said.

“We are very lucky that we have the SRO there and he did a great job,” Dominguez said. “He did exactly what he was supposed to do, and the school went into lockdown immediately.”

RELATED: Hamden High School closed Monday, Tuesday after receiving another threat

After the lockdown was in place, there was a large police presence at the school to assess the situation and to then facilitate the early dismissal of students.

At the same time, police saw a social media post unrelated to the first call that also appeared to target Wilbur Cross. The social media post said they were going to “shoot up Cross,” Dominguez said.

“So that was two things that happened and then from there, the social media (handle) began to add different schools,” the chief said.

According to officials, the schools mentioned in the posts were:

  • Hillhouse High School
  • Achievement First Amistad High School
  • Career High School
  • Co-op High School
  • Riverside Academy
  • Conte West Hills
  • Edgewood School

“(This) required our police resources to go to other schools within the city and make sure they were also safe,” Dominguez said.

None of the threats made were credible, Mayor Justin Elicker said.

The person who called 9-1-1 with the first threat was interviewed by police and has been arrested for breach of peace and interfering with police.

“She did say that she fabricated the story,” the chief said. “Her fabrication and the call is what caused the social media post to begin.”

Dominguez did not say if the student gave a reason as to why she made the call.

One individual has been identified as the person responsible for the posts for three of the schools. Dominguez said that person is a juvenile from a different state, however, she did not provide additional details.

The New Haven Police Department is working with officers in that state and an arrest warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Dominguez said they are still investigating if the phone call and the social media posts are connected.

“There are other posts that we are still investigating, and also one email that was sent out to one of the schools,” Dominguez said.

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Assistant Superintendent Paul Whyte thanked the school resource officer at Wilbur Cross and the New Haven Police Department and their partners for their prompt response to the threats. He said mental health support will be offered for students and staff at all the schools.

As for the student who allegedly made the initial call, Whyte said an internal investigation following school protocols will determine any academic consequences.

“(This) has caused undue alarm and trauma for the school, for the community, for the parents, for the teachers,” Dominguez said.

There will be an increased police presence at all New Haven schools in the upcoming days – even if they were not named in a threat.

Elicker reiterated his commitment to making the community safe.

“It creates a significant amount of trauma in a community already traumatized by everything going on over the past two years, with the shooting and incidents in Michigan, this is something that not only does our community not need, but it creates great harm, and we'll ensure you are held accountable if you end up doing this to our public school system,” Elicker said.

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Purported threats at other schools across Connecticut sparked lockdowns and early dismissal.

Eli Whitney Technical High School in Hamden, Wintergreen Magnet School in North Haven and Norwich Free Academy in Norwich were all briefly placed on lockdown on Monday.

At Norwich Free Academy, security personnel was made aware of a possible threat from a student. In an abundance of caution, the school was placed on lockdown as Norwich police responded.

Officers quickly located the alleged suspect and are currently investigating the incident to determine if criminal charges are appropriate, police said.

The lockdown ended around 11:10 a.m. without incident, officials said on Twitter.

“The safety of students and staff is the number one priority, and NFA is grateful for the assistance of our partners at Norwich Police Department,” the statement on Twitter said.

RELATED: Authorities: Parents of accused Oxford school shooter 'ran away' and 'hid' from police

The incidents came after Hamden High School canceled classes on Monday and Tuesday after receiving a second threat in four days. Classes were canceled Friday after the school received a social media threat.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said in a statement Monday that they are aware of the trending school threats, not only in Connecticut but also around the country.

"We have reached out to Municipal CEOs, emergency management directors and school district personnel across the state to provide assistance in managing these incidents," the department said in a statement. "We continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners through the investigations."

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