LPS Police Chief shares latest on school threat

Eisenhower Middle School

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - A juvenile is in police custody after allegedly making a threat on social media involving Eisenhower Middle School.

Because the suspect is a juvenile, police are not releasing any information about him or about the specific threat he allegedly made.

What we do know is around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, Lawton Public Schools Police Chief David Hornbeck said he received a call that the FBI had encountered a social media threat against Eisenhower Middle School. Hornbeck said they immediately began investigating and were able to locate the person who posted the message. He was arrested at his home at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday.

“We want to give peace of mind to the citizens of the Lawton community that anytime there is a threat like this, once it is identified that there is a threat, we are going to take action immediately. We are going to start the investigation immediately and our objective this morning was to locate the suspect and isolate him before class started,” Hornbeck said.

Chief Hornbeck said they also like to act quickly because the longer a situation goes on, the more likely information that is both correct and incorrect will begin to circulate, making it even more difficult for them to hold those responsible accountable. He said when information does start to spread, it creates what he calls panic situations.

“Especially with our parents, we realize there are a lot of kids who go to our schools and they have a lot of parents. I'm a parent myself and I want to protect these kids just like I'd protect my own kids. But also, we want to demise any possibility of creating a panic situation so a lot of times we're not going to sit there when we have a threat and call every parent in the district and say hey we've got a threat at this school because again, we do not want to create that panic. We want to isolate the threat, isolate the suspect and get it under control,” Hornbeck said.

Hornbeck said when they feel they have a situation fully under control, then they will inform parents of whatever information they are able to release to them.

Lawton Public Schools also released a statement saying, in part “We cannot share any other details at this time as this is an ongoing investigation. Please know that all threats will be handled swiftly and immediately. Safety is the top priority for Lawton Public Schools. We want to thank the FBI and Lawton PD for their support and joint efforts to isolate and contain the threat. We will continue to work together as we complete the investigation. We ask that anyone, parent or student, who sees any potential threat at any time to please report it to LPS administration or law enforcement immediately.”

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