Roy City Police Chief Carl Merino and Deputy Chief Aaron Perry sent a clear message to citizens Friday about threats of school shootings: the police will not tolerate that kind of behavior.
During the past couple of weeks, the Roy City Police Department has received an increase of calls with concerns of potential school shootings, including a tip with a photo of a student holding a gun with a caption of “school shooter in training,” and a Snapchat post stating a student didn’t make the high school basketball team and will shoot up the school, according to a letter written by Merino and Perry and posted Friday to Facebook.
“Other examples have been in the form of graffiti found at the schools stating there will be a shooting on a specific date,” Merino and Perry wrote. “One thing we have noticed is that, as these events get attention in the media, the frequency of the incidents increase.”
Although no credibility has been found by police with the recent threats, the department takes every incident seriously, according to the letter.
“We work closely with the schools to ensure the safety of the students,” according to the letter. “We will have an increased presence in the schools as we see necessary to protect the children of Roy City. In the recent incidents, we have suspects identified and have made contact with them and their guardians, and we are pursuing criminal charges where applicable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Merino and Perry asked parents to play an active role in their children’s lives by monitoring their online and social activity as well as knowing who their children associate with.
“Talk to them about the dangers of these events, including the consequences of sending messages and making posts concerning or hinting at being involved in a shooting,” Merino and Perry wrote in the letter. “Even if comments are posted as a joke, we will pursue the most severe charges we possibly can. We, as community, must have zero tolerance when it comes to referencing these types of events.”
Since the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, more than half a dozen threats have been reported throughout the state. On March 5, Pine View High School in St. George, Utah, was evacuated after a school resource officer was notified of a backpack with smoke coming out of it on campus.
According to a St. George Police Department Facebook post, the backpack contained an explosive device and was left in the cafeteria at the high school during lunch time.
“We again confirm to the public that the item in the backpack was an improvised explosive device (I.E.D.) that failed to function,” St. George Police wrote in its Facebook post. “It was designed, and placed in a specific location, at a specific time, for the purpose of spreading shrapnel in a manner that was intended to injure and/or kill as many people as possible in the vicinity of the backpack.”
St. George Police confirmed the person arrested for the attempted bombing at Pine View is also connected to a criminal mischief incident at Hurricane High School on Feb. 15 where an American flag was replaced with an ISIS flag and ISIS graffiti was found on campus.