What should have been an ordinary day for the Elsberry R-II School District became anything but, following a threatening phone call.
Shawn Naber Jr., a former Elsberry Student, called the school on Sunday, Jan. 6 and stated he was planning to bomb the school. What made his threat seemingly different was the specific date he planned on performing this act of terror. According to Elsberry R-II School District Superintendent Tim Reller, Ed.D, Naber said in his message he would be placing a bomb in the school on Monday, Jan. 14.
“Typically when we get threats of this nature it’s usually within the next couple day’s or even hours,” said newly elected Lincoln County Sheriff John Cottle. “We, along with local police, were called up to the school that morning after receiving a call from Dr. Reller at which time we did a sweep of the building.”
Cottle went on to explain there was no immediate threat as the message was explicit as to when and where the event would take place and with such a notice given they decided it would be best to take advantage of the time to apprehend the suspect, which at that time they had no idea as to who it was.
Elsberry Police Chief Robert Bodley said he advised the school to remain quiet for now, seeing no reason in starting community uproar just yet.
“We knew the school wanted to give notice of what was going on but we felt it may be too soon and we wanted to take the advantage of having time,” said Bodley. “Either way it went a notice was going to be sent out on Thursday, Jan. 9, it was just a matter of which letter was going to be sent.”
According to Bodley, the letter was either going to state the situation that happened and that there were no suspects yet, they would advise parents to use their own judgment on whether or not to keep their children home that day. Or the letter would state, as it did, they have arrested the person responsible and the threat has been eliminated.
“We were fortunate to be able to send out the latter of the two,” said Bodley. “The Lincoln County Sheriff’s office did an amazing job throughout this investigation, which ultimately led to the arrest of this young man.”
Cottle explained when they received the call from Dr. Reller and after listening to the tape, there was no immediate threat and the last thing anyone would want is mass chaos and panic, therefore he believes as does Bodley and Elsberry R-II School Board President Sean O’Brien, the situation was handled exactly as it should have been and no one got hurt.
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