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Park Rapids Police investigate report of school threat – Park Rapids Enterprise


“There’s been no direct threat on any Park Rapids school,” Police Chief Jeff Appel stated on Thursday.

According to Appel, the investigation Wednesday evening found there was no credible threat, and one student’s supposed threat to shoot another student proved to be a rumor circulated by students and on social media.

Appel further stated that the rumors were apparently based on a Nov. 25 Valley News Live report about a tipster who called into their whistleblower hotline, but that did not identify a specific school.

The media organization also reported a previous tip received on Nov. 1 that someone was “going to shoot up the high school” in DL, but it was unclear whether the caller meant Detroit Lakes or Devil’s Lake.

“The call was at 6 p.m., and we interviewed multiple people, and it all led back to the Valley News post,” Appel said in a phone interview. “This all started Monday.

“It’s been rumors all week. Some parents kept some students home, and then people started talking, and every lead that we followed up led back to this Valley News story.”

A school parent posted on the Facebook group “Park Rapids Community Blabber” on Thursday that her son told her that on Wednesday night, the high school went into lockdown because a kid was threatening to shoot up the school.

According to the parent, the boy said officers searched the school and canines were there as well. In a follow-up comment, she said this happened when her son was at drama practice at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Another drama student told one of her parents there was no lockdown, but she described students becoming concerned about a text in which someone supposedly threatened to shoot someone at the school. Concerned students called 911 and multiple officers responded, interviewing students including a girl who had seen the text.

According to the girl, extra officers patrolled the school on Thursday, and the parties involved in the text threat were identified.

According to Appel, responding officers on Wednesday evening followed up on the rumors and social media posts that had led students to become concerned.

“It all led back to students talking to each other, third-hand information, then leading back to the Valley News Live,” he said. “We’ve been working with the school on it, and sometimes you create more drama with it. We’ve addressed the people that have called, and there has been no credible threat.”

Superintendent Lance Bagstad confirmed that the entire scare was “carry-over from the Valley News Live post.”

Appel stressed that there was no lockdown at the school, and that the call took place after school hours.

He also responded to the boy’s report that police K9s were involved in a search of the school, noting that Sgt. Rob Gilmore, the department’s K9 officer, handled the call.

“As you know, he has the K9 unit on his car, so that’s where I guess that probably came from,” said Appel.



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