Police: VUHS shooting threat ‘was not real’

VERGENNES — Vergennes police on Tuesday afternoon investigated a report of a student threat to fire a weapon at Vergennes Union High School, but according to Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel authorities determined “the ability to carry out the threat was not real,” and “no threat exists to the safety of students or the facility.”
On Wednesday Merkel said a VUHS student told police that another student made the threat during a conversation, and that report triggered the investigation.
Police described the nature of the threat was to go to VUHS, which houses grades 7 through 12, “during early morning hours and discharge a weapon at the school while it was in session.”
Merkel described the investigation as ongoing. Because of the age of the student and witnesses involved their names are not being released. 
Addison Northwest School District officials notified students and staff members of the incident, and according to Merkel VUHS administrators are also following up on the incident.
Vergennes police are working with the Addison County State’s Attorney to determine if criminal charges will be filed, Merkel said.
The report comes in the wake of two other incidents in which Vermont police suspected students of threating to shoot guns at their schools.
Last month Middlebury police took two Middlebury Union Middle School eighth-graders into custody after receiving a tip  that one of them planned to shoot a classmate and the other had a plan to supply the gun. That case, which prompted police to confiscate the guns from one local man, is going through the  juvenile justice system, (click here to read that story).
Last February Vermont State Police arrested a former student at Fair Haven Union High School whom police said had threatened to shoot up his school. That incident prompted the Legislature to pass and Gov. Scott to sign new gun laws.

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