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UNIONTOWN (KDKA) – Multiple weapons were found in the bedroom of a teenager accused of threatening to carry out a shooting at a Fayette County high school.
According to police, a 14-year-old male was arrested around 8 p.m. Thursday.
A student heard the suspect make the threat on the bus and told their parents, who then contacted police. Acting on that tip, police went to a home in Henry Clay Township to interview the parents and suspect.
Through the course of their investigation, troopers learned the suspect had planned to target four students at the school on Friday.
“The individual also expressed dislike for these four students and his uncle. He indicated it would be extremely easy to sneak a gun into the school in his backpack. He also indicated that he could use a sniper rifle from a distance or a shotgun for mass casualties,” Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower said. “He didn’t like them, he just didn’t like them.”
At that time, a search warrant was obtained. During their search, troopers found one semi-automatic rifle, one shotgun, two lever-action rifles, one revolver, one crossbow and bulk ammunition for all weapons. Troopers also found throwing knives and two machetes.
It is unclear how the suspect obtained the weapons at this time.
Watch the full press conference —
The teen was arrested and is currently being held in a juvenile detention center. He is being charged with terroristic threats, possession of a firearm by a minor and criminal attempt to commit catastrophe.
The suspect’s parents are cooperating with police.
Uniontown Area High School released the following statement Friday:
“Last night, Uniontown Area School District Police were informed of a threat made by a district student to cause harm to other students. The threat was immediately investigated with the cooperation of the Pennsylvania State Police and Uniontown City Police. As a result of the investigation the student was apprehended. Because student safety is the number one priority in the Uniontown Area School District, security has increased throughout a number of our schools today. The district would like to thank the Pennsylvania State Police, the Uniontown City Police, as well as our students, parents and staff members for their assistance and efforts to ensure a safe and productive day of education.”
The school day at Uniontown Area High School was far from normal for parents and students.
“I never thought that there would be a shooter in our school, so I was kind of frantic at first,” student Elizabeth Holland said.
Parents are calling the student who informed police about the shooting threat a hero.
“He’s a hero because if he had not said something or if he just blew it off, who knows what we would have been talking about right now?” parent Roberta Cole said.
“The young man’s a hero. It takes a lot to stand up and speak,” parent Michael Schock said.
The District Attorney himself also called the student a hero.
“Quite frankly, the parent and the child who reported this are actually the heroes here,” Bower said. “Had they not reported this, there could have been a major catastrophe today at Uniontown High School.”
Watch Bob Allen’s report —
No one knows for sure what the motive behind the shooting threat was, but some are blaming bullying.
“The buzz on the street is yeah, that’s what everybody’s talking about,” Shock said. “They feel like it’s a — from what we hear, the kid’s been bullied quite a bit.”
“The superintendents and the principals should fix it. I’m not trying to bash the school or anything, but I think it’s ridiculous how high the bullying is,” one student said.
At Friday night’s varsity boys’ basketball game at the high school, a lot of thoughts were still racing in parents’ minds.
“A minor shouldn’t have weapons unless you know they’re hunting or have a license and are properly trained,” said parent Isaac Melbin.
Watch Amy Wadas’ report —
“Where are the parents? Do the parents know they had all of this?” said grandparent Roxanne Durant.
“Thankful that the student came forward and all this was avoided or we would be in a different place tonight,” said grandparent Diane Humbert.
The district attorney says the arrested teen is not being charged as an adult right now.
Police were also made aware of a possible threat in the Laurel Highlands School District. The threat was similar in nature to the Uniontown case. However, it is not believed to be related to the Uniontown case.
Police went to the Laurel Highlands School District on Friday to continue their investigation.
As a result, the Laurel Highlands School District has cancelled classes for Monday.
The superintendent posted a letter on their website Friday afternoon that said the school district “will be utilizing an Act 80 day on Monday January 29, 2018. Therefore, there will be no school for students.”