Law enforcement neutralizes threat toward Southwest

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sheriff: 'There was no indication students were ever in danger'

The Southwest school district saw a heightened police presence Thursday afternoon and Friday morning after a juvenile allegedly made a threat deemed credible by law enforcement.

Gary Davis, Barry County sheriff, said the school learned of a valid threat Thursday at about 1 p.m., causing administrators to put the district on lockdown and call the Sheriff's Office.

"Our officers were there until school was out [Thursday] and throughout [Friday] morning," Davis said. There was no indication any students were ever in danger, and we had a good response from the school, local law enforcement and the [Missouri State Highway Patrol]."

Sgt. John Lueckenhoff, public information and education officer with the Highway Patrol, said he was on the scene Friday morning as investigators narrowed down the source of the threat.

"We did some police work through contacting associates of the suspect and on Facebook and social media, and [the Highway Patrol] responded to a residence in McDonald County and took the suspect into custody," he said.

Lueckenhoff said the juvenile, whose name is being withheld due to age, has been transferred to the juvenile court system.

"There was some type of electronic conversation and someone caught wind of it and reported it," Lueckenhoff said. "We determined it was credible, so officers responded. From a law enforcement perspective, we responded to protect the school."

Davis praised the school district for its handling of the threat, and praised area city, county and state law enforcement for their response.

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