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Bucks high school closed over threats

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By The Philadelphia Inquirer
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

One week after 26 students and staffers were gunned down in a Newtown, Conn., school, a 14-year-old Bucks County boy is in custody for threatening to “randomly kill students and staff” at Council Rock South High School, police said on Friday.

A tip from the parent of another student led police to the Richboro home of the ninth-grader, where they confiscated two 9mm, World War II vintage handguns, a replica AK-47 rifle, plus knives, machetes and swords, Northampton Township police Chief Barry Pilla said.

“I believe that because of the cooperation of the community and the school administration, we dodged a bullet,” Pilla said at an 11 a.m. news conference. “This was a credible threat.”

The threat prompted the district to close the school in the Holland section of the township, affecting 2,200 students, plus faculty and staff. It was specific to that campus, Superintendent Mark Klein said, so the district's other schools and 9,360 students were not affected.

Four other high schools in lower and central Bucks also were targeted with threats on Thursday, but they were investigated and discounted, and classes continued as scheduled, officials said.

In the Council Rock case, the ninth-grader was being held in the county Youth Detention Center in Edison on charges of making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Police did not know why the threats had been made, Pilla said.

The student's mother, Lizabeth Donohoe, 50, was being held in the county prison on charges of possession of a firearm and endangering the welfare of children.

Police were trying to determine who owned the handguns and where they came from, Pilla said.

The ninth-grader made statements on Thursday at the school “indicating that he was going to bring a gun and knives into the school building Friday morning and randomly kill students and staff,” Pilla said.

Another student alerted his parent about the threats, and the parent called police, Pilla said.

“He's a hero,” Klein said about that student.

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