Hamilton student accused of threatening violence

Posted at 7:17 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 19:17:39-04

Tune into 9 On Your Side at 6 p.m. for more on this developing story from Julie O'Neill.


HAMILTON, Ohio — A high school student in Hamilton was in police custody Thursday for making “threats of violence" against the school, according to administrators, just hours after a gunman opened fire on a college campus across the country in Oregon.

In an email sent out to Hamilton City School District parents Thursday, administrator Joni Copas said that some students reported to high school officials last Thursday that another student had made threats, prompting an investigation.

Administrators partnered with the Hamilton Police Department to investigate the allegations. Copas said the student was taken into police custody and the district has taken “appropriate disciplinary actions.”

The district’s announcement to parents Thursday afternoon came just a few hours after a student at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, opened fire on campus, killing at least 10 people and injuring as many as 20 more.

Hamilton City Schools Superintendent Tony Orr said fostering good relationships with students is critical to responding to threats before they become real attacks. "We pride ourselves on the relationships we have with one another, and thank heavens that our students came forward and shared information with us," he said. 

"As soon as we got the information, we acted on it," he said.

Hamilton High School senior Jordan Anderson told WCPO he's relieved to see threats being taken seriously. "I know the authorities will handle it, so it's a lot safer," he said. "Schools have been cracking down on students who've been making threats."

The email did not detail the nature of the threats, nor any charges made filed against the student.

Hamilton Police Sgt. Ed Buns told WCPO the student was suspended from school throughout the investigation leading up to his arrest on Thursday, and said Ohio law doesn't require a physical act of violence for police to take legal action.

"A lot of what the Ohio Revised Code deals with, you don't have to make a physical act," he said. "You have a reasonable, prudent person who believes, or based on the likelihood should believe, that you intend to commit an act... That's basically what this was."

In the wake of the threat, Buns said, Hamilton police have increased their presence around the school, as the investigation continues.

Here is Copas' email in full:

Because we value student safety and good communication, we wanted to inform you that students recently reported to high school administration that a student made threats of violence against the high school.  The administration, working collaboratively with the Hamilton Police Department, investigated the matter, and we are pleased to report that the student is now in police custody and the district has taken the appropriate disciplinary actions.

We commend the students for keeping our Hamilton family safe.

- Joni L. Copas
Director of Communications
Hamilton City School District

Check back with WCPO for updates to this story as more information becomes available.