UPDATE: Juvenile arrested for threatening note toward Patrick Henry High School bus
Firecrackers were found last Thursday, along with a threatening letter
A juvenile accused of writing a threatening letter toward a Roanoke school bus on August 22 has been arrested.
Two glass jars and what police believe was a flammable liquid was found with the note. The note was a threat toward Roanoke City Schools Bus 66 that takes students to and from Patrick Henry High School.
The juvenile’s name is not being released.
A detention order for the juvenile was issued Wednesday. The arrest was made later Wednesday.
A Roanoke Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge issued a no bond order for the juvenile Thursday morning.
The note was found in the 2900 block of Garden City Boulevard last Thursday night.
The discovery: two glass jars containing firecrackers and what police believe is a flammable liquid and a threatening note dated three days before it was found.
The target of the note; Roanoke City Schools Bus 66 that takes students to and from Patrick Henry High School.
Police got a call for suspicious activity in the 2900 block of Garden City Boulevard last Thursday night.
Roanoke City Police began its investigation then and developed a possible juvenile suspect three days later on Sunday.
Police didn't notify Roanoke City Schools until Sunday, something that frustrated school leaders because students rode that bus on Friday.
Neither Police nor Roanoke City schools could say much about the suspect.
Police could tell us that threats are evaluated on a case by case basis and didn't see an imminent threat.
"We look at threats on their own merits and imminent threats are certainly something that we would respond to immediately, and when we have the information that warrant the deployment of resources, we will do it," said Deputy Chief Tim Jones.
Leaders for Roanoke City Schools say student safety is their number one priority and a good relationship with police is imperative to make that happen.
Superintendent Rita Bishop and Deputy Chief Tim Jones say the relationship is very strong.
Bishop admitted she was disappointed she didn't know about the threat sooner, but once she found out she and her staff, in conjunction with police, took appropriate action.
Monday, there was an automated call from Patrick Henry's Principal, and the bus has a security officer riding on it.
"That is always my first question: Is the person you love most going to be put on that bus by you with absolute confidence and if the answer is yes, then we go," said Bishop.
Again, this case is still under investigation, both school leaders and police say there's no imminent threat and that students are safe riding that bus.
Prior to this incident, police and Roanoke City Schools had a meeting scheduled this Friday to talk about school safety issues.
Rita Bishop says both sides will certainly be talking about this at that meeting.
A threatening letter found Thursday prompted an automated phone call to the families of Patrick Henry High School students Monday.
The letter was found along with a glass jar that had firecrackers in it. Police found the threat and firecrackers Thursday night in the 2900 block of Garden City Boulevard in Roanoke. The threat was directed to Bus 66.
According to a news release from the Roanoke Police Department, the letter was three days old by the time investigators found it. Roanoke City Public Schools was not made aware of the threat until Sunday.
The Roanoke Police Department says there is no evidence that the suspect made any attempt to carry out the threats in the letter.
On Sunday afternoon a teenage suspect was identified. Patrick Henry's principal sent out an automated call Monday to families saying the following:
“This is Joseph Jablonski, principal at Patrick Henry High School. Your student is assigned to ride Bus 66. I want you to know that Roanoke Police discovered a written threat directed at the bus. The police are aggressively investigating the matter. Roanoke City Public Schools has assigned a member of our security personnel to ride the bus to and from school until the matter is resolved.
I want to stress that your student’s safety is our first priority. Please feel confident that the school system is taking every possible precaution to ensure student safety. If you have questions, please call me at 853-2255.”
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