Police say shooting threat not a danger to VUHS

VERGENNES — Following up on a tip about threatened violence at Vergennes Union High School Tuesday evening, Vergennes police identified the man who made the threat and determined that VUHS students and staff were not in danger.

Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel said on Wednesday morning that his department issued a no-trespass order to a local adult male who made a threat. Police did not file any charges because the man “did not have an intention to carry the threat out, nor did he have the means to carry the threat out,” Merkel said in a press release.

“There is no immediate threat to students or staff of the Vergennes Union High School or surrounding schools,” Merkel added. “As a precautionary measure there will be an increased presence of law enforcement in those areas for the immediate time being.”

In an email to parents and staff Wednesday morning, Addison Northwest School District Superintendent Sheila Soule wrote, “an individual who lives in the area (not a student) made a threat of gun violence against our high school,” and that “a student from our high school reported the concern to a trusted adult. The police were able to interview several witnesses to the alleged threat and by midnight last night we learned that the individual had been apprehended and was being cooperative with the police.”

Soule added, “We are very grateful to the individual who came forward to notify the police of their concern. Please continue to talk to your school-age children about our collective responsibility to this end.” 

School opened as usual on Wednesday.

Merkel explained the rationale for the no-trespass order, rather than a citation or charges, to the Independent. He said police talked to the individual at length in determining there was no “credible threat,” and made sure he had “no access” to firearms. 

“We deemed there was no threat,” Merkel said. “He was contrite and very apologetic.”

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100