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Juvenile accused of terrorizing after gun threat reported in Ward County

Investigators said they found no immediate threat to public safety after a photo warned students against attending school.

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PLAZA, N.D. — One juvenile is accused of terrorizing after a threatening photo was distributed that warned students in Mountrail County not to come to school.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, the Ward County Sheriff’s Department received a report from the Lewis and Clark School District in Plaza, North Dakota, roughly 45 miles southwest of Minot, regarding a photo that had been distributed.

Authorities say that the photo showed a North Shore Plaza student who appeared to be holding a handgun with the caption “don’t come to school tomorrow.”

An investigation into the report ultimately found there was no immediate threat to public safety, and that the handgun was a BB gun, according to a Wednesday morning, Nov. 30, news release. The weapon has since been seized by authorities.

The juvenile is a resident of Ward County, and not of Mountrail County where the school is based. The Ward County Sheriff’s Department said the student was referred to North Dakota’s juvenile court system.

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The Lewis and Clark School District did not immediately return a call for comment.

Schools around the state received swatting threats last Thursday, Oct. 13. Schools and local law enforcement are happy about how they responded, but are also taking it as a learning opportunity.

The threat to North Shore Plaza came in a different fashion than a mid-October burst of at least seven hoax school shooting calls that scrambled authorities across North and South Dakota. No arrests have been made in connection to any of those hoaxes.

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A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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