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UPDATE: Le Mars Schools Placed On Lock-Down After Shooter Threat Received

Le Mars, Iowa — On the same day a mass shooting at a south Florida school took 17 lives and left many injured, a note threatening a shooting was found at a school in northwest Iowa.

Administrators at Le Mars High School called police Wednesday afternoon after finding the note threatening violence. Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says officers responded immediately.

The situation was resolved in a little over an hour.

A 14-year-old student was taken into custody. The chief praised school administrators for taking quick and appropriate action.

The incident took place about 1 P-M and the chief says the timing was very coincidental.

Some parents gathered around the perimeter of the school, concerned about the safety of their children. They were notified of the incident either from social media or cell phone calls and texts. Precautions were also taken around the community.

The unnamed male student was transported to the Le Mars Police Department at about 2:10 P-M. He was later transferred to the juvenile detention center in Cherokee and is charged with threat of terrorism, a class D felony. Classes resumed Thursday as normal.


Original story posted 3:32 pm 2/14/18

Le Mars, Iowa — The all-clear has been given at Le Mars High School after a threat caused the building to be placed on lockdown early Thursday afternoon.

According to KCAU-TV in Sioux City, a heavy police presence was noted at Le Mars High School after the facility was put on lockdown, and the entire area around the school was blocked off. Students were kept inside the building during the lockdown.

Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo told KCAU that his office received a report of a note that threatened the school.

Van Otterloo told KLEM Radio in Le Mars that the law enforcement response was to a threat in regards to a shooter coming into the building. The Sheriff says the Le Mars High School, Middle School, and Elementary School were all placed on what he called a “lock out”, meaning classes were going on as usual, but nobody was allowed into, or out of, any of the three buildings.

Van Otterloo said officers were in the building trying to determine the credibility of the threatening note that had been found. Once that was completed, he said they would go through the building and clear things out.

Sheriff Van Otterloo says the SRT (Special Response Team) was on hand, along with several other officers from a number of law enforcement agencies. The Sheriff stressed that there had been no injuries, and that no shots had been fired.

A sad footnote to this story is that the incident in Le Mars comes the same day as a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which at least 14 people have been wounded or killed.

Special thanks to KLEM Radio and KCAU-TV for their assistance on this story.

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