OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials in a northeast Oklahoma district where a student was arrested last week for allegedly plotting an attack at the high school canceled classes Wednesday after someone reported seeing an armed man near the school.
Superintendent Gary Quinn said Bartlesville public schools will reopen after the holiday break. Officials said a resident reported seeing two men, one of whom had a gun, near the school on Tuesday.
“Not knowing what these individuals were doing and not being able to locate them yet … we made the decision that it would be in the best interest of our students not to have school today,” Quinn said.
Bartlesville police Capt. Jay Hastings said it's possible the two men were hunting in a wooded area with a pond behind the school, although he noted hunting within the city limits is illegal.
“Until we locate these two subjects and find out exactly what they were doing, we take it seriously,” Hastings said.
“It may not have been anything to do with the school, but unfortunately they parked on school property,” he added.
The school closures come just days after 18-year-old Bartlesville High School student Sammie Chavez was charged with plotting to shoot classmates and detonate bombs at the school. Chavez, who was arrested the same day as last week's deadly Connecticut school shooting, remains jailed on $1 million bond.
Bartlesville is about 50 miles north of Tulsa.
Chavez was charged Friday with one felony count of planning to perform an act of violence. Court records do not list an attorney for Chavez, and calls to a number for Chavez listed in court documents went to a recorded message saying the line wasn't available. A court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.
A search of the home where Chavez lived with his mother uncovered a .22-caliber, semi-automatic rifle that had been converted into a “pistol grip type rifle,” according to a search warrant return filed Tuesday.
Police also seized marijuana and drug paraphernalia, two swords, a pair of brass knuckles and notes that Hastings has said were related to a planned attack. The search also revealed photos of several graduating seniors had been cut out of a newspaper insert and placed into a small black photo album, along with drawings entitled “RIP Graveyard” and “Suicidal Timmy.”
Police said no bomb-making materials were found at the home.
Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy