Four students charged in shooting threat at Woonsocket High School

Four students charged in shooting threat at Woonsocket High School

WOONSOCKET – Four teenagers are in police custody after they allegedly made an anonymous phone call threatening to shoot up Woonsocket High School Wednesday morning.

According to Police Chief Thomas Oates, the four juveniles, all students at WHS, were taken into custody after police were able to trace the phone number used to make the call. The incident, he said, is being treated as a hoax. Police did not discover any evidence the students had weapons or were prepared to follow through on their threat.

The phone call, he said, came in around 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the high school main office. An anonymous caller told high school staff there would be a shooting at the school at noon. Staff informed the WHS school resource officer, who then called in police detectives and informed district administrators.

“It was decided that they’d go into a lockdown even though the threat was not a corroborated threat,” said Oates.

The lockdown lasted about an hour and a half, after which students resumed their regular school day.

After tracing the call, police identified four WHS students who they believe were aware of the threat and were together when the call was made.

“As a result of their interviews, which are still going on at this time, all four of the individuals are going to be charged with disorderly conduct and conspiracy,” he said.

Police believe the students may have also called a business with a similar threat. The investigation was still ongoing as of 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.

“The message is that if you do make these phone calls, we’re going to find you and you’re going to suffer the consequences,” he said. “These individuals are now scheduled to make appearances in family court.”

Superintendent Patrick McGee sent an email informing parents of the incident around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. He recognized the efforts of local police and school administrators in handling the incident.

"As you know, our first responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students and staff. I would like to thank the Woonsocket Police, high school administration and staff, and students for their response during this situation," he wrote.