Multiple threats prompt school lockdowns in New Haven County; Wilbur Cross student charged with breach of peace, interfering with police

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – None of the threats made toward New Haven schools Monday have been found to be credible at this time, according to Mayor Justin Elicker.

Elicker, Interim New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez and other city leaders held a press conference Monday night to address the threats that impacted multiple schools and caused some to go into lockdown earlier in the day.

According to New Haven officials, the following schools were impacted on Monday:

  • Wilbur Cross High School
  • Hillhouse High School
  • Amistad Academy Middle School
  • Career High School
  • Co-op High School
  • Riverside Academy
  • Conte West Hills
  • Edgewood School

Dominguez said the incident began at around 8:51 a.m. when an individual called 911 reporting there was someone with a gun in the area of Wilbur Cross High School attempting to make entry into the school. Dominguez said the school resource officer was given that information, notified the principal and the school was put into lockdown.

Through investigation, police were able to identify that caller and interview her at the police department. The 17-year-old Wilbur Cross student told police she fabricated her story, according to Dominguez. She was charged with breach of peace in the first degree and interfering with police.

While police were on the scene at Wilbur Cross, a social post was made referencing another threat toward the school, and police believe the same Instagram handle began posting about different schools which required officers to go to those other locations and make sure students were safe, Dominguez said.

Dominguez said police have identified one of the individuals making online posts that referenced three of the schools: a juvenile, who is from out of state. She said an arrest warrant is forthcoming from the police department.

Eli Whitney Technical High School in Hamden was also placed on lockdown and students and staff were sent home for the day.

Police are looking to see if any of the threats are connected to one another.

There will be an increased police presence at these schools over the next few days as the investigation continues.

“If you do make a threat like this, we are able to track down who the person responsible is and we will make an arrest,” Dominguez said. “Because it is the safety of the children, but not just their physical safety, their emotional and mental well-being that is important to us.”

This follows threats at Hamden High School that closed the school on Monday and Tuesday.

RELATED: Hamden High School closed until Wednesday due to another threat

Norwich Free Academy in Norwich was also placed into lockdown on Monday due to a threat.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public protection (including the Division of Emergency Management, CTIC and the CT State Police) is aware of the trending school threats around the country.

We have reached out to Municipal CEOs, emergency management directors and school district personnel across the state to provide assistance in managing these incidents. We continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners through the investigations”

Brian Foley, Spokesperson for DESP

News 8 dug deeper to see what the consequences could be in regards to these threats

Retired Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara told News 8 all threats are treated as real until proven otherwise and involve a lengthy investigation. MacNamara said it was a misdemeanor prior to 2016, but in October of that year, the law was adjusted to specifically make it a felony if someone were to make a threat to a school.

He shared why these disruptions might be happening.

“Part of it is certainly wanting to cause a disruption and fear. Then, there are other cases where reports are being submitted based on someone’s due diligence and reporting things that look suspicious,” MacNamara said.

MacNamara also said these threats can have a lasting impact on the community.

“The long-lasting effect of fear and concern — in our teachers, our children, and our parents — it lasts. It continues and it’s hard to all of a sudden say, ‘oh that was nothing. It was just a threat.'”

Stay tuned to News 8 for updates on this story.

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