Student in Jamaica threatens mass shooting

first_imgIn the aftermath of the deadly shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the authorities in Jamaica were placed on high alert when a student at a prominent high school threatened to carry out a mass killing.Student at Wolmer’s High School-BoysMembers of the High Command of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were prompted to launch an investigation as the 18-year old student of the Kingston based Wolmer’s Boys School over the past weekend issued a voice note on social media  suggesting he would carry out a mass killing.A high-level team headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey of the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime (C-TOC) arm of the JCF on Monday started probing the threat.“An active multi-agency investigation is underway, and the matter is being treated with the highest level of attention,” the police told parents and students early Monday.Individuals were also urged to desist from circulating the 10-minute voice note in which the student expressed frustration about several issues, like calling friends by phone and not getting an answer. He also listed the names of fellow students and issued violent threats. The student was taken into police custody as the police and education officials urged the public not to panic.Assistance from Min. of EducationThe Education Ministry in a statement on Tuesday disclosed that it was assisting the police in conducting a psychological assessment of the student.The police noted that as they questioned the student, in the presence of his parents, he indicated that he had attempted suicide twice. It was also revealed that the student was found by a relative – reading a book with the digits “666” – believed to be the Biblical “Mark of the Beast”, on the cover. Student releasedAfter hours of questioning, the student was released into the custody of his parents, with the police declaring he did not have the capacity to carry out the threat.Assurances that Jamaican schools are saveMeanwhile, the Principal of Wolmer’s, Dr. Walton Small assured the public that the school remains “extremely safe”. “I doubt if more than 10 percent of the school knows about it, but everything is fine,” he said.Concerning the safety of schools across Jamaica, Education Minister Ruel Reid said the incident was a wake-up call.According to Reid, his ministry is ensuring there are no weapons in schools. “There is a very protective mechanism. It’s very proactive and anticipates if there were any breaches you can actually cauterize the problem,” he said.  The minister also cited Jamaican schools have panic buttons, and other security systems, so “generally our schools are prepared.”Reid, however, noted that based on the current level of crime and violence being experienced in the country, “it is not unthinkable that we have youngsters who are in distress for several reasons.” Anxiety over the threat made by the Jamaican student was fueled by reports of the recent mass shooting in Florida, in which a 19-year-old former student killed 17 people, accounting for the deadliest school shooting in the US in five years.last_img