Ashland teen fatally shot himself

Police were trying to question him about text threat against school

Barrett Glascock, Southern Boone school board member, talks with law enforcement outside the Southern Boone County Middle School on Tuesday where lawmen had converged on a report about a potential threat to the school. Classes were cancelled before 6 a.m. Tuesday because of the threat.

Barrett Glascock, Southern Boone school board member, talks with law enforcement outside the Southern Boone County Middle School on Tuesday where lawmen had converged on a report about a potential threat to the school. Classes were cancelled before 6 a.m. Tuesday because of the threat.

ASHLAND, Mo. - An Ashland teenager fatally shot himself in the chest after Boone County law enforcement personnel tried to take him into custody in order to question him about a text message threatening the Southern Boone County School District. 

The incident happened early Tuesday morning.

The name of the 17-year-old — who authorities said lived with his father and stepmother on Bob Veach Road, northeast of Ashland — was not released at a press conference held mid-day Tuesday.

Ashland Police Chief Lyn Woolford said the situation came to his department’s attention around 10:30 p.m. Monday when “a fellow student” reported receiving the threatening text message. The message was forwarded to the Ashland police and to Southern Boone County School Superintendent Chris Felmlee.

Subsequent investigation by Ashland police and Boone County sheriff’s deputies deemed the threat to be “non-descriptive,” but also “credible” and “dangerous.” They declined to elaborate on the exact wording of the threatening message.

“It was specific enough to indicate something would happen at the school and it would involve injury, which was enough to make us believe it needed more attention,” Woolford said.

Concern surrounding the incident led school leaders to cancel classes and all related school activities Tuesday, in order to allow law enforcement agencies to search overnight for bombs or other potentially dangers. Six agencies — including the MU Police Department, Capitol Police, Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad and the ATF — were mobilized.

“No devices of a threatening nature were discovered, and the school facilities have been released,” Woolford said. 

Working together, an Ashland police officer and a Boone County deputy first tried to contact the deceased student — who is believed to be the originator of the text message — around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

Maj. Tom Reddin said while officers spoke with family members, the teen was asked to retrieve some clothing so that he could be taken into custody. While retrieving those items in another room, the distraught teenager apparently also picked up a small-caliber handgun, which he turned on himself and discharged into his chest. 

In response to the shooting, emergency medical services and fire personnel were summoned to the residence at Bob Veach Road at 1:57 a.m.

Reddin said officers at the scene and emergency workers attempted to resuscitate him. The teen was transported to a Columbia hospital by ambulance where he died, Reddin said.

“We would like to extend to his family — and to the friends of this student — our heartfelt condolences,” Reddin said.

Officials were not yet willing to say what might have motivated the teen to send the text message or shoot himself. Reddin noted the situation is still under investigation and law enforcement officers will continue to interview people who knew him to “provide insight into the mindset of the deceased.”

Superintendent Chris Felmlee said while the school buildings are safe and have been thoroughly checked, the circumstances are tragic. He said school guidance counselors will try to help students with their grief and he noted their plan is to meet and talk with students about the situation in small groups, not large ones.

EARLIER VERSION OF STORY ...

An Ashland teenager fatally shot himself in the chest after Boone County law enforcement personnel tried to take him into custody in order to question him about his role in sending a text message that threatened the Southern Boone County School District.

The name of the 17-year-old — who lived with his father and stepmother on Bob Veach Road, northeast of Ashland — was not being released by officials at a press conference held mid-day Tuesday.

Ashland Police Chief Lyn Woolford said the situation came to his department’s attention around 10:30 p.m. Monday when “a fellow student” reported receiving the threatening text message. 

Subsequent investigation by Ashland police and Boone County sheriff’s deputies deemed the threat to be “non-specific,” but also “credible” and “dangerous.”

Confusion surrounding the incident led school personnel to cancel classes and all related school activities on Tuesday to allow a team of several law enforcement agencies to search overnight for bombs or other potentially dangers.

“No devices of a threatening nature were discovered and the school facilities have been released,” Woolford said. 

According to Woolford, an Ashland police officer and a Boone County deputy, working together, attempted to contact the originator of the text message around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

At 1:57 a.m., however, emergency medical services and first responders were called to the scene. 

Major Tom Reddin said while the family was being contacted, the teen was asked to get some articles of clothing so that he could be taken into custody. While retrieving those items in another room, the distraught teenager apparently also picked up a handgun, which he discharged into his chest.

Reddin said officers at the scene immediately attempted to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful. 

Officials were not yet willing to say what might have motivated the teen to send the text message or shoot himself. Reddin noted the situation is still under investigation and law enforcement officers will continue to interview people who knew him to “provide insight into the mindset of the deceased.”

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