The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 31, 2013

Police look into gun rumors

Student, family cooperate; nothing found

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Commercial-News

HOOPESTON — School officials and police have dismissed rumored threats that a Hoopeston student threatened to bring a gun to school.

It appears “no one was in danger at any time,” according to police.

Hoopeston Police Chief Mark Drollinger and Hoopeston Area Schools Superintendent Hank Hornbeck issued a joint statement this morning regarding the situation, saying police at this point have been unable to confirm the communication of such a threat.

“At this time we are unable to confirm that any threat was ever made, merely rumors expressed via Facebook, Twitter and e-mails and texts among students,” the statement indicated.

Police monitored social networking sites and found discussion in regard to beliefs the student planned to come to school with a gun. Police stayed in contact with school officials throughout the evening, the statement indicated.

Despite the lack of a threat, Hoopeston police were present at the school this morning “to assure the parents and students of their safety.”

The situation, according to the statement, began on Wednesday. Hoopeston police met with school officials and concerned parents after officers received several calls from parents reporting the student — who was not identified — planned to bring a gun to school.

Drollinger termed police and school official actions as a proactive move and commended parents for voicing concerns about the threat rumors.

“We live now in a day and age where nothing can be taken lightly,” he said.

“This was a very valid concern.”

Drollinger added the situation helped strengthen communication bonds among local law enforcement, the community and the schools.

According to the joint statement, the student and his parents cooperated fully with police and allowed a search of the home. Officers searched both the student and his home and nothing was found to confirm the rumors.