NEWS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS: Lieutenant Jeff Hallock, OC Sheriff’s Dept. at (714) 904-7042 or JHallock@ocsd.org; Virtue Byrd, Director of Communications, St. Mary’s School at (949) 448-9027 x345 or Virtue.Byrd@smaa.org
St. Mary’s School E-Mail Threat Investigation – UPDATE
ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – (September 10, 2014) – On Monday, September 8, 2014, Sheriff’s investigators and the School Mobile Assessment Resource Team (SMART) began investigating a threatening email that was sent to St. Mary’s School. Investigators and school administrators have continued to work collaboratively throughout the investigation, attempting to identify the source and credibility of the threat.
Immediately following receipt of the email threat Monday morning, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department initiated an investigation in an attempt to evaluate the threat. Sheriff’s deputies increased their patrol presence in and around the campus and school administrators modified student movement throughout the campus for the remainder of the day.
As a strictly precautionary measure, school administrators closed the school campus yesterday, Tuesday, September 9, 2014 and today, Wednesday, September 10, 2014, until additional details could be learned from the investigation.
Yesterday afternoon, SMART investigators obtained information that indicates the threatening email was sent from outside the United States. The email indicated a shooting would occur on the St. Mary’s School campus on a date and time that has since passed and that it would be accomplished by a third party. A generic name and physical description of the third party was provided but investigators have been unable to identify, locate or confirm the existence of the subject described.
Investigators are continuing to work on verifying the identity of the author of the email threat; however, based on information obtained during the investigation, there does not appear to be evidence to substantiate a credible threat to the campus. At this stage in the investigation, it appears the third party name provided in the email is not a past or present student, faculty, staff, parent or alumni associated with the school. The investigation is ongoing.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is committed to working collaboratively with St. Mary’s School administrators in developing a plan to re-open the school and maintain the safety of students and faculty. Sheriff’s deputies will be on campus and have an increased patrol presence and support the efforts of school administration. Administrators at St. Mary’s School have determined the campus will remain closed for students on Thursday, September 11 and are working diligently to reopen the school.
# # #