A 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged with uttering a threat of terrorism and first-degree harassment in connection with a threat and lockdown at Fort Dodge Middle School on Wednesday afternoon.
According to a press release from the Fort Dodge Police Department, there was a potential threat involving the use of a firearm by a student on campus. However, after the initial investigation, law enforcement said there was no reason to believe the students and staff were ever at risk.
The threat was reported by staff to the FDPD School Resource Officer at approximately 2:08 p.m.
In accordance with established policies and procedures, the school was immediately placed under lock and key. “so that the safety and security of students and staff are better considered while a full investigation is carried out”, according to the press release.
All available FDPD officers and Webster County Sheriff’s Deputies responded. At 2:50 p.m., FDPD Captain Dennis Quinn told The Messenger that one person had been arrested and there were no gunshots or injuries. At that time, the school remained closed as law enforcement officers marched through the building.
“We’re just being careful and cautious, keeping everyone’s safety in mind,” Quinn told the Messenger.
At approximately 3 p.m., the school district sent an email to FDMS parents advising them that the potential threat had been contained and that “Things may be a little slower than usual when laying off.” All extracurricular activities at the college have been cancelled.
“The prompt action of students and staff, along with a collaborative effort from the Fort Dodge Community School District, the Fort Dodge Police Department, the Webster County Sheriff’s Office, and the Webster led to this quick resolution,” Quinn said in a press release. “We would like to thank the parents and students affected by this unfortunate incident for their patience and understanding while local law enforcement investigated.”
The student who was taken into custody was charged with threatening terrorism (a Class D felony) and first degree harassment (an aggravated misdemeanor). The student will be transported to the Iowa Central Detention Center in Eldora to await criminal proceedings. Authorities have not released the name of the student.
The FDPD continues to investigate this incident and encourages anyone with information to contact law enforcement or send an anonymous report to Webster County Crime Stoppers via text message. “LEC” and tip at 274-637. Crime Stoppers can also be contacted anonymously by calling 515-574-1444.