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Hazleton City Police say that around 2:30am this morning they began investigating a school shooting threat. Sergeant Joseph Babula received a call from the Luzerne County Communication Center involving a potential threat of gun violence at the Hazleton Middle School, also known as the Castle, by a 14 year old Juvenile. The teen allegedly made a threat against the school through social media app Snapchat.
Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale was immediately notified, coming in to Police headquarters and communicating with Hazleton Area School Police Chief Edward Harry. According to police, Hazleton Police Detective Sergeant David Rodick was contacted, notified of the circumstances and responded to headquarters to coordinate efforts. Mayor Jeff Cusat was also immediately notified by Chief Jerry Speziale of the situation.
As a result of the threat, the above Hazleton Police Officers responded to the juveniles home at approximately 430 AM and met with the mother and uncle of the juvenile and explained the situation.
After speaking with the mother and uncle, it was determined that there was a licensed Glock 45 caliber handgun in the home, police say. Officers inquired if the weapon was secured and were told that the weapon was locked and secured in a safe away from the juvenile. Officers learned that was not the case and the handgun was out in the open on top of a nightstand, fully loaded.
Sergeant Babula, Officers M. Colosurdo, J. Shaw and Det. Sergeant Rodick seized the weapon for safekeeping and the juvenile was transported to Hazleton Police Headquarters by Officer C. Conarty, accompanied by the mother and followed by the uncle and owner of the licensed handgun.
Interviews are currently being conducted at Hazleton Police Headquarters and the investigation is ongoing pending any potential criminal charges after conferring with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.
Hazleton Police will be present at the school in the morning, coordinating with Chief Edward Harry and the Hazleton Area School Police and take precautionary measures through school guidelines and procedures to insure a safe environment at the school.
Police consider the threat to be generic in nature and it is being thoroughly investigated by the Hazleton City Police. This incident appears to be an isolated incident and no other threats have been made nor any other individuals involved in the threat.
Statement by Police Chief Jerry Speziale:
“In light of recent incidents throughout the country, we take these incidents extremely seriously and will coordinate with our school counterparts to make certain our children are safe and protected.”
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