Just after 8AM this morning, Mayor Jeff Cusat received information from a concerned citizen which resulted in the Hazleton Police Department intercepting a message threatening the Arthur Street School and Hazleton High School with a mass shooting, pipe bombs, and possible diversion plan.
Based on the threat, Mayor Jeff Cusat contacted Chief of Police Jerry Speziale and the Command Staff of the Hazleton Police Department who quickly mobilized in the early morning hours at HPD headquarters and began an investigation into the origin, threat, protection of the public and individual responsible.
According to a press release, Luzerne County Communication Center was immediately notified by Hazleton Police Department personnel of the threat and the Computer Aided Dispatch System was updated should there be a call for service or response required at any school facility in the area. The Hazleton Patrol Division Supervisors briefed all personnel of the threats and coordinated response and tactical plans in the event of a response to any school facility to protect the public.
Hazleton Police notified Chief Edward Harry of the Hazleton Area School District Police who offered assistance in this matter.
Members of the Hazleton Detective Division immediately, began to vet the threat and conduct interviews identifying the telephone facility and origin. Based on the preliminary investigation, Det. Sergeant D. Rodick communicated with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and Magistrate Matthew Christopher issued an Arrest Warrant for 18 Pa.C.S. 2715 - 2, Threat to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction(Felony 3) for 28 year old Christian Earl Diehl of Hazleton who was identified through the investigation as the alleged originator of the threat in this matter.
Members of the Hazleton Police Department utilized investigative methods and electronic surveillance searching throughout the day for Diehl.
At approximately 10:15PM Diehl was located by the Hazleton Police Patrol Units driving on 6th Street and Church Street where he was taken into custody and placed under arrest.
The vehicle being operated by Diehl was towed pending further investigation. Diehl was transported to Hazleton Headquarters pending arraignment and further investigation.
Statement of Mayor Jeff Cusat:
"Clearly, in today's world, a threat of this nature, must be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated, that's why I made contact immediately."
Statement of Chief of Police Jerry Speziale:
"I am proud of the teamwork displayed and the tireless efforts put forth by my entire team to ensure the public's safety."
"First and foremost, the community is safe and while we had a school threat we recognized that school was not in session until Monday.We worked tirelessly to insure that we would not have any issues with the opening of the schools and a potential threat.
I want to thank everyone involved in today’s investigation for their dedication, tireless effort’s, quick thinking and working as a team.
I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone involved. The community is safe.
Chief of Police"
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