by ANDREW NEAL
Authorities say an 18-year-old senior at Utica High School this week made threats to his school through a video posted to social media. His fellow students quickly reported him to the police and he now faces up to 20 years behind bars.
Detectives from the Shelby Township Police Department immediately began working with Utica Community Schools to investigate the issue. A news release from STPD said, “We appreciate the actions of students to bring this issue forward. Yesterday evening our officers and detectives conducted a search warrant at the home of the suspect; recovered were various firearms and replicas, along with ammunition.”
Utica Mayor Thom Dionne, an alumnus of Utica High School and active law enforcement officer, commended STPD for their quick response to the threat. “I’m really impressed with the response. Shelby Police were exceptionally proactive and ensured safety above all, wasting no time to respond to this credible threat and make an appropriate arrest,” Dionne told the Gazette.
“In the city of Utica, we’ve been in meetings with our fire chief, our police chief, and our emergency manager to ensure readiness in the event of an active shooter or emergency response situation,” he said, adding that their close partnership with surrounding law enforcement puts the community and its schools in good position for a rapid response should an emergency occur.”
Mayor Dionne also has a message for students. “If you see something, say something. Even if it’s to a teacher, let the teacher escalate it up the chain if necessary. Or if it’s an immediate and credible threat, call the police. They’ll come out and investigate because these things aren’t taken lightly.”
The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Utica High School senior Timothy Evans with making a terrorist threat or false report of terrorism. Prosecutor Eric Smith stated, “Any threats made against our schools will be taken seriously and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Calling a threat a prank or a joke is not a valid defense. I urge parents and educators to continue to have these hard conversations with our youth, explaining to them the long-term ramifications of making a threat in this day and age.”
Timothy was arraigned this week in the 41A District Court. Judge Sheppard set his bond at $75,000 (no 10%).
Police are reminding parents, students and staff that they, along with Utica Community Schools and the prosecutor’s office, take a zero tolerance stance on the issue of threatening students, teachers, and the community. They say the necessary steps are in place to ensure the safety of the students and staff in the Utica Community Schools.
In related news, on Thursday morning, Shelby Police responded to Eisenhower High School on reports that a student made threatening comments during lunch on Wednesday. According to a statement from Ike officials sent to parents Thursday, “The student was brought to the main office immediately this morning and has been removed by the Shelby Township Police. The police department will continue its investigation working closely with Eisenhower administration.”