Police say Hopewell High threat started over a video game

Posted at 8:19 AM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 18:33:35-04

HOPEWELL, Va. -- An investigation is underway after a threat to Hopewell High circulated on social media, that warned of a shooting at the high school on Tuesday.

"Please know that we are investigating this situation in full partnership with local law enforcement and will keep you fully informed as our investigation progresses," a Hopewell Schools spokesperson posted on Facebook Tuesday morning. "We sincerely appreciate the active role our community has taken in bringing this matter to our attention. As always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority."

A few hours later, Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane said there was no viable threat to Hopewell High School.

"As of 11:30 a.m., we have completed our investigation and have just debriefed with the Hopewell Chief of Police," said Superintendent Melody Hackney. "We are extremely relieved and grateful to our partners in local law enforcement who helped us initiate this investigation quickly and bring it to a successful close."

Two students of interest were immediately identified, questioned and disciplined, Hackney said. Those two students were involved in a verbal altercation while playing a video game throughout the weekend and their disagreement continued into Monday.

Their comments were overheard by nearby classmates and construed as potential threats to the school, according to Hackney.

"These comments were then shared on social media," Hackney said.  "In collaboration with the Hopewell Police Department, these threats were dispelled and unfounded."

Officials determined that the school is safe today and will be tomorrow, Hackney said.

"An added police presence will remain at HHS to ease the fears of students, staff and parents for the time being.," Hackney added.

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