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Telluride High School searched for weapons after threat

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Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 6:57 PM
Classes at Telluride High School are expected to resume Tuesday after the school was closed Monday after officials received a tip about alleged plans for a “Columbine-style” attack.

TELLURIDE – FBI agents and police searched a high school campus for weapons and explosives in the scenic Rocky Mountains resort of Telluride on Monday after a tip about alleged plans for a “Columbine-style” attack shut down the school and led to the arrest of a student and the seizure of a handgun and rifle at his home.

Officials said no weapons were found on the campus of Telluride High School and that it would reopen Tuesday with extra security as a precaution.

The investigation into the social media threats – reported to school officials on Sunday – was continuing, said Susan Lilly, a spokeswoman for a multiagency task force conducting the search.

The threats rattled Telluride, a former mining town turned resort destination that is surrounded by mountains and attracts celebrities to its ski slopes and its annual Telluride Film Festival.

The male student taken into custody is a juvenile who is suspected of posting on Snapchat a threat to detonate explosives on the campus of the school, which has about 255 students, Lilly said. His name and age were being withheld, and he had not been formally charged by late Monday, she said.

Lilly did not provide additional details about the guns seized at the homes, and no other details about the search were disclosed.

Authorities were trying to determine the author of an earlier Snapchat post that threatened a shooting at the school and specifically referred to the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in suburban Denver, Lilly said. Thirteen people were killed at Columbine, and the two student gunmen took their own lives.

The Columbine massacre, in Littleton, has led to dozens of copycat plots or incidents nationwide. It also led to more aggressive prevention efforts and police responses to active-shooter situations at schools.

“We take every threat seriously and run down all leads to ensure safety of students and staff,” school superintendent Mike Gass said in a message to parents.

Investigators were speaking to several students as part of their probe, Lilly said. None was considered a suspect as of late Monday.

FBI agents were involved because the case potentially involved explosives or firearms, Lilly said.

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