Zachary High students mistake shooting threats
ZACHARY - Ten percent of Zachary High School students were absent Friday because of threats made at another school, in another parish earlier this week.
Kyle Blackburn, 18, from Denham Springs was arrested by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office Wednesday for Twitter messages he sent to Silliman Institute students following an altercation during a recent basketball game.
He was transported to the East Feliciana Parish Prison and booked on terrorizing charges and has since bonded out.
Blackburn went to school at Central Private but left the school after his arrest.
Police said Blackburn has no ties to Zachary High, yet rumors swirled at the school Wednesday and Thursday of a shooting on Friday.
Thursday afternoon, Zachary Police posted on its Facebook page, "We have investigated the rumors involving Zachary High School and they were found to be untrue. Parents send your kids to school."
Police Chief David McDavid said Zachary students misconstrued those threats as meant for Zachary, and the rumors spread through the school like a virus.
Cops and sheriff's deputies spent the morning patrolling campus just as a precaution.
Chief McDavid said he received dozens of calls, texts, emails and Facebook messages about the threats which were unsubstantiated.
"It's becoming a problem," McDavid said of threats made through social media. "When threats are being made over the Internet we're having to go in and subpoena records, their email and IP addresses," which costs the department money, time and resources, McDavid explained.
He proposes putting the costs the department incurs back on the culprits. That way if found guilty, there's more accountability that may deter others from similar threats in the future.
According to our records, this is the seventh school threat in our area this year.