Arrest made in school threat investigation

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - Authorities in Lawrence County say a person has been arrested after a threat was made against a school over the weekend.

According to the Walnut Ridge Police Department, the crime was not committed in Walnut Ridge and the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department made the arrest. The threat was made through an app.

"The app itself is based off of proximity," Walnut Ridge Police Capt. Jordan Cooksey said. "You are supposed to be able to find people that are close to you through social media."

That app was intended to be used for people to make constructive criticism of co-workers anonymously, but Cooksey said people began using it for things like cyberbullying and threats.

The person arrested is a juvenile, but is not a student in the Walnut Ridge district. No names have been released.

Police say it may have been a joke that went too far.

Cooksey said he is thankful his department was able to work quickly to catch the suspect.

"This is a big relief," Cooksey said. "Anything we can do to provide peace of mind to our parents, to our students, to our community, it's just been wonderful to be apart of that."

The juvenile suspect confessed to sending the threat on the app during an interview with police Monday, according to Cooksey.

Cooksey says authorities were unable to trace the threat on the app. But thanks to tips from the community they found several persons of interest and interviewed them.

Police began investigating a threat of violence toward the school on Sunday.

On Monday, WRPD officers as well as Lawrence County sheriff's deputies and Arkansas State Police troopers provided added security to Walnut Ridge Schools as the threat was being investigated.

Parent Paige Cunningham said she felt safe having her four kids at school Monday with the heavy police presence.

"They were very comforting and just welcomed the kids and you know, just told me your kids are safe and I mean I knew that, I said that," Cunningham said. "When he told me that I said I trust you I know they're okay."

Region 8 News will have more information as details emerge. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates.

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