By ERIN SANSON
The morning of Thursday Nov. 3, the Virden Police Department received a call from North Mac High School at 9:46 a.m. A note was found indicating there was an active shooter present at the school. Virden Police arrived to the school within four minutes and placed the building under full lock down as the officers began searching the building. Officers from the Virden Police department, Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department and the Secretary of State Police all searched the building before determining there was no threat. An investigation about the note is being conducted by the Virden Police Department and Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department.
Increased calls across the area
This incident came less than two weeks after a school shooting in St. Louis, less than an hour and a half away. Federal investigators have noted an increase in shooting threats in the areas around St. Louis following the shooting on Oct. 24. The increase has become so great that FBI special agent Jay Greenberg said at an Oct. 26 press conference that the St. Louis field office has not been able to contact every person who has made a threat and have been relying on local police to assign officers to be in the schools.
Several other schools in the area have experienced similar situations in recent weeks. Two teens were arrested for leaving threatening notes in the bathroom at Pana High School on Nov. 2 and 3. Christian County State’s Attorney Wes Poggenpohl has approved charging both suspects with one count of disorderly conduct threat of violence, a Class 4 Felony.
A Taylorville student who also recently wrote a note on a bathroom stall wall seeking help from a supposed gunman made his first court appearance on Nov. 4. He has also been charged with a Class 4 felony and could face up to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
In O’Fallon, Illinois a student is in police custody after making a social media post about seeing weapons in the school bathroom.
O’Fallon is served by the St. Louis FBI field office while Pana, Taylorville and Virden are served by the Springfield FBI field office.