Arrest made in connection to threats at Battle Ground school

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BattlegroundBATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KPTV) — Battle Ground police have made an arrest in connection to threats against students and staff at Chief Umtuch Middle School.

No details were immediately released, but police scheduled a press conference for 4:30 p.m.

A total of six schools were under an emergency closure order Wednesday after a decision made by the school district and police.

Lt. Roy Butler wouldn’t comment on whether the threat involved explosives or a specific action planned for Wednesday, but said police deemed it credible because of the specificity of the threat.

On Tuesday, an automated message was sent to parents informing them of a suicide threat at Chief Umtuch School.

“They’re saying they found a suicide note or something that some student wrote, but they didn’t have a name on it,” one student told FOX 12. “They called [parents] to talk to kids about if it was your kid.”

School administrators who were looking into the suicide threat then learned of the threat against the school, and that led officials and police to decide to close the schools Wednesday.

Chief Umtuch Middle School, Captain Strong Primary School, Summit View Middle School, CAM Academy and Battle Ground High School all shut down for the day. They are within several blocks of each other, north of downtown Battle Ground’s Main Street. The nearby Firm Foundation Christian School on 199th Street also announced a closure due to the threat.

About 3,850 students were told to stay home while police searched the schools. By noon, the district said the inspections of the schools had been completed.

The police department declined to elaborate on the threats, saying the release of information could jeopardize its investigation. The FBI has been consulted on the situation, according to administrators.

Parents will receive an update when it is determined when school will resume. When schools reopen, there will be an increased police presence. Updates will be posted here.

The investigation into the threats follows a series of suicides in Battle Ground. Six Battle Ground School District students, including two Chief Umtuch students, committed suicide between February 2011 and January 2013.

In addition, a teenager was arrested and convicted for a bomb threat earlier this year. In February, students and staff were sent home for a day after a janitor found a threat scrawled on a bathroom stall at Battle Ground High School. Luke Love, 18, was sentenced to one month in jail for writing the note.

Anyone with information about the most recent case is asked to call police at 360-342-5254 or 360-342-5200.

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