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Virden North Mac targeted in school violence threat

Enquirer~Democrat Reporter

North Mac High School was one of six schools in Illinois that were targets of a threatening message on Monday morning.

In a joint statement released by Virden Police Chief Steven Snodgrass and North Mac Superintendant Kyle Hacke, it was revealed that the Virden Police Dept. received a report at 9:47 a.m. that a subject with a weapon was on the exterior premises of North Mac High School and was attempting to gain entry with the intent to cause harm. The high school was locked down and the Police Department was on scene by 9:49 a.m. The interior of the building was immediately searched and secured, as Virden Police determined no threat existed inside.

The Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department, Girard Police Department, Illinois State Police and Illinois Conservation Police were all on site to search the campus, secure the perimeter of the grounds of the high school, elementary school and district sites.

The hard lockdown was ended just short of an hour later at 10:44 a.m. The high school and elementary were placed on soft lockdown with a heavy police presence. There was no viable threat found and parents and guardians were notified of the incident.

Detectives with the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department followed up on the phone number they received the report from and determined the number belonged to a “Text Now” app. The company was contacted and an IP address was traced to an out-of-state location. At that time, it was discovered the five other communities in Illinois had received the same threat. Vandalia, Winnetka, Wilmette, Wheaton and Zion were the other communities targeted. The investigation into the matter is still on going but the joint statement states that, “the threat does not appear to have come from anyone in our community.”

No other information regarding the messages origin or intention has been released at this time.