Olentangy Valley News

No arrests made after bus driver reports threat

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The Delaware County Sheriff's Office determined no crime occurred when a man mentioned shooting at a school bus at a Lewis Center gas station last week.

A Olentangy school-bus driver reportedly overheard the comment Friday morning, March 21, at Speedway, 770 Polaris Parkway, and gave a description of the man and his license plate number to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Tracy Whited said deputies made contact with the man who made the alleged threat within 24 hours and questioned him. After questioning the man, the bus driver and a clerk at the gas station, the sheriff's office concluded no crime had occurred.

Whited said all three witnesses had a different recollection of what the man actually said, "but the consensus was (something similar to): 'I'm going to shoot up the bus.' "

Whited said because the threat was not made toward a specific school, bus or individual, it was determined no crime had taken place. She said sheriff's deputies determined the man may have been trying to impress a friend when he made the statement.

Olentangy schools sent an email alert to district employees and parents about 2 p.m. March 21. The email stated a man said he intended to shoot at school buses and included a description of the man and his car.

Olentangy spokesman Devon Immelt said it's district policy to reach out to parents and staff if a threat is made.

"When our (sheriff's office) school resource officers are involved in a situation ... (We) advise the community of that," he said. "It's just a precautionary measure."

Immelt said district officials want the public to learn about potential student safety issues firsthand from the district, not through gossip.

The district sent a follow-up email message to parents and staff Sunday afternoon, March 23, letting them know that although the sheriff's office did not think a direct threat was made, it would provide additional security near schools in the coming days.

Despite the lack of a crime in the case, Whited said the bus driver did the right thing by reporting the potential threat. She advised anyone in a similar situation to do the same.

"Definitely report it to local law enforcement and they can determine how credible the threat is," she said.

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