Teens face charges after threats made against school

Additional staff and law enforcement expected Tuesday at Ryle High

Teens face charges after threats made against school
A threat referring to a possible school shooting directed at Ryle students started circulating on social media Sunday about 10 p.m. (Source: Jane Elliott)

UNION, KY. (FOX19) - A second teen has been arrested and charged after threats prompted a police presence at a Boone County school Monday.

On Monday morning, police said a 17-year-old Larry A. Ryle High School student was taken into custody. The teen, accused of making a social media threat against the school, was charged with terroristic threatening and taken to the Campbell County Juvenile Detention Center.

Later, in the afternoon, deputies took a 15-year-old boy into custody and also charged him with terroristic threatening. According to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, the 15-year-old does not know or have any known affiliation with the 17-year-old.

Deputies say the 15-year-old was not at school Monday, though he was conversing with a student at the school throughout the day. The 15-year-old was upset that others would not keep quiet about the incident involving the 17-year-old, and threatened to shoot those who couldn’t “keep their mouths shut,” according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

The student conversing with the 15-year-old reported the conversation. Deputies later made contact with the 15-year-old at his residence, eventually obtaining a full confession.

Deputies did not locate any firearms in the 15-year-old’s possession, and said he was not on school property after making threats.

Sheriff Michael A. Helmig deployed additional resources to Ryle High School Monday afternoon as a safety precaution.

Ryle’s principal sent three emails to parents and guardians Monday, the first at 12:43 p.m. and the second at 1:54 p.m. The third was sent around dinnertime, after the confirmation of a second arrest. That third note can be read below:

"Good evening Ryle Parents, Students, and Staff,

Within the last 24 hours, two separate people have made threatening statements about students at our school. Both of these situations have been quickly investigated by school administration and the Boone County Sheriff's Department. In both situations, the responsible person has been arrested by the Boone County Sheriff's Department. Threats of harm and violence will not be tolerated and will involve both legal and school consequences.

Unfortunately, both of these incidents involve students' use of social media to share information with each other and everyone else without regard of the panic and concern that sharing it could create. Reinforce to your students that if they have information involving school safety they must communicate that information to school or law enforcement authorities.

Due to the increased anxiety and stress level of our students we will postpone and reschedule the Winter Band Concert scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. These types of threatening incidents can be very stressful for students and everyone else involved; their anxiety level may be heightened and previous trauma in their lives may impact what they are now feeling. Please be mindful of everyone's emotional status right now.

Tomorrow we will move forward and continue, we will start anew and we will have additional staff and law enforcement present to reassure everyone that we are safe. Rest assured that any incidents of disruption or threatening behavior will be treated very seriously.

I have several groups of people that I would like to thank: first is our students as they have assisted our administrative staff and law enforcement at every turn as we have investigated these threats, the Boone County Sheriff's Department deserves credit for their support and their quick and decisive action in handling both situations, lastly our parents and our teachers have been very understanding and flexible as we have worked though two stressful and challenging situations.

Thank and see you tomorrow, Matt Turner Principal"

Parents lining up to pick up their children outside Larry A. Ryle High School after police confirmed a second suspect is being questioned about Monday morning's threat against the school.
Parents lining up to pick up their children outside Larry A. Ryle High School after police confirmed a second suspect is being questioned about Monday morning's threat against the school. (Source: Jane Elliott)

A threat referring to a possible school shooting directed at Ryle students started circulating on social media Sunday about 10 p.m., prompting several phone calls and concerns from several parents, students and citizens, sheriff’s officials said. The social media picture showed what appeared to be a male wearing dark clothes and holding a handgun with a flag emoji covering the face of the pictured subject, according to the sheriff’s office.

The threat stated in part: “If Ryle [sic] kids continue to pursue me, you will be capped….”

Boone County deputies worked closely with the school resource officer at Ryle High School and Boone County School administrators to quickly identify the male juvenile. Deputies made contact with the male juvenile and he stated that he posted the threatening picture to social media but the picture of the person holding a gun was not him, according to a news release.

The male juvenile stated that the picture of the person with a gun was found on the internet and the purpose of the picture was to make other students think that it was actually him holding the handgun, the release states.

The male juvenile said he posted the threat in response to being picked on by Ryle High School students and that he was going to possibly fight another student after school armed with a knife, according to the sheriff’s office.

Several parents made comments on social media saying that they would not bring their children to the high school Monday out of fear of what could happen.

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