UPDATE: A 17-year-old boy in Hagen, Germany confessed to making both phone call threats to United Township High School, saying he knew a girl there through an online gaming platform and she asked him to make the threat.
East Moline Police investigators traced both threats calls from the past week back to the same number and account user in Hagen.
East Moline Police worked extensively with Hagen Police to continue to investigate the source.
Today, Hagen Police interviewed a 17-year-old male who confessed to making both phone call threats on August 17 and August 23. Hagen Police reported to East Moline Police that they would pursue criminal charges against the suspect in Germany. The teen indicated they knew a person at United Township High School through an online gaming platform.
East Moline Police investigators located the 15-year-old female who asked the German offender to make the threat. The two were associated through an online messaging app for gamers.
The juvenile was arrested and is in custody pending juvenile court proceedings. Although this case is still under investigation there is no evidence that there were any actual plans that a shooting was or is going to occur. There is no ongoing threat to the student body.
Twice in a week was way more than enough for frustrated parents.
After the lockdown ended, one mother told Local Four News she started collecting numbers of parents to help organize and call the school to take steps to keep students safe.
Casey Mitchell was one of the parents who showed up at the school. She said she just arrived at work when she saw news alerts for the lockdown at UTHS.
Her and her husband decided to take their son out of school for the rest of the day but said their child is being punished when all their concern is for his safety.
Mitchell said, “Just informed us when a bunch of parents were down there waiting for their children to come out if we decide to take our children out of school today that it would not be excused. That they would have an unexcused absence. Like are you serious? This is the second time in less than a week.”
She told Local Four News that targeting UT wasn’t random and believed someone local was behind it as police later said.
Mitchell said, “It’s somebody from here. They’re not just targeting a small school in Illinois. They’re not somebody overseas is not just picked out of the whole United States United Township High School. It’s somebody here.”
For her, with just a few weeks into school, it’s not the impression she want’s her son to have.
“He was in his first period class and they just won’t let him leave and see, our son is a freshman is a freshman this year, so can you imagine, you know, a kid being so excited to come into high school and literally have been in school a month, maybe,” said Mitchell.
The lockdown was lifted by the school administration at 9:10 a.m., according to the East Moline Police Department
A phoned-in threat sparked another lockdown at United Township High School on Thursday morning.
The call was received around 8:12 a.m. from the same caller as last week and conveyed a threat to the student body at United Township High School. The East Moline Police Department is currently working to confirm the source of the call from today and investigate the origin of the threat.
Investigators traced the incoming call from August 17 and tied the account to a known subject in Hagen,
Germany. The case has been turned over to the FBI for further international investigation.
At this time, police do not believe it is a valid threat, but are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of the students which is the top priority for both the school district and law enforcement. The East Moline Police Department will provide extra officers at the school and United Township High School will be on normal school operations.
United Township High School is on lockdown again this morning, referring to an “external threat” police described as “similar” to last Friday.
The East Moline Police Department release the following statement on social media:
“The East Moline Police Department has asked UTHS to go on lockdown due to an external threat claim called into the police department on 8/23/18. This is a similar incident to last Friday. At this time we do not believe this threat is substantiated but we are taking precautions to make sure the students are safe.”