A public announcement released Wednesday by Johnson County Schools Superintendent Tom Cochran revealed that a credible threat had been made against a school in the district.
According to the statement, “I (Cochran) received notification from local law enforcement that a generalized threat toward schools had been made. After working with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Paintsville City Police Department, the individual was identified and is detained in custody. Students were never in any danger related to this incident.”
The statement continued, “Student safety is of the highest priority at Johnson County Schools and violations of the law are handled in conjunction with local law enforcement and will be prosecuted in accordance with all local and state laws.
“First and foremost,” the statement continued, “it is my job to protect every student in the Johnson County School System, and I take this with the utmost seriousness.”
Paintsville Police Department Capt. Jonathan Holbrook told the The Paintsville Herald Wednesday that the threat was generalized.
“We got a call that a juvenile showed a safe of firearms and made a threat towards a school,” said Capt. Holbrook.
“No particular school or anything like that.” (Paintsville Police Department) Chief (Mike) Roe, (Johnson County) Sheriff Doug Saylor, myself, (JCS Superintendent) Tom Cochran, (JCHS Principal) Noel Crum, (JC Safe Schools Coordinator) Shawn Castle, (Paintsville Fire Department Chief) Rick Ratliff and (Paintsville/ Johnson County Emergency Management Director) Gary McClure actually met about it.”
The investigation, Holbrook said, led officers to the juvenile’s residence.
“The parents gave us his electronics and, while speaking with the parents, he volunteered some information,” Holbrook said. “After further investigation, the juvenile was charged.”
Holbrook said the juvenile appeared in Johnson District Court on Wednesday before District Judge Brett Butcher, who ordered the juvenile to be housed in a detention facility pending further court proceedings.
“The juvenile in question appeared in Johnson County District Court on Nov. 13, 2019 in front Judge Brett
Cochran said in his statement that he is grateful for the response by local law enforcement.
“I wish to thank our local first responders for their quick and thorough action in this matter,” he said. “Oftentimes, we rely on our community for information regarding any possible threats. If you are aware of any information, please contact our local law enforcement agencies or the Johnson County students and our school system.”
While local law enforcement stated the threat was generalized and did not target a particular school, Paintsville Independent Schools have not released a statement regarding the incident as of presstime Friday.