Police: ‘Crisis Averted’ At Hazleton School

HAZLETON, Pa. -- Outside Hazleton Elementary/Middle school, police were on patrol Thursday morning.

According to Hazleton police, a 14-year-old student sent a video on Snapchat that threatened gun violence there.

"I just wanted to get back in the car and leave," said Betty Tankalavage of Hazleton. She learned of the threat while dropping off her third grader.

That Snapchat was spotted by someone who used a new app called Safe 2 Say Something, a way for students and others to report threats anonymously.

Police say it worked because within moments, officials at the county 911 center got the tip and called Hazleton and school police.

They launched an investigation, going to that 14-year-old student's house in the early morning hours and taking a loaded gun.

"It was a threat of gun violence. We end up with a gun that could have been in some kid's possession that was not safely secured. And as a result of that, we have to take action and we kicked into action around 2:30 this morning," said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale.

Parents and students alike are relieved someone reported the alleged threat.

"That's nice because what if nobody knew about it?" said student Kyra Bartol of Hazleton.

The chief of police said, in addition to dealing with the latest investigation, his department has just filed for a $200,000 state grant should there ever be an active shooter situation in a city school.

"The teachers in the school, any school in this area, can draw the cars by pushing a button and we can communicate by instant message and we're going to have tablets we have in our car, we're going to have the floor plans of the school, so we know where they are, how to lock down. It's amazing stuff," he said.

The chief hopes to learn in the next few months whether the city gets that grant.

As for this case, police say the 14-year-old student is suspended from school and a criminal investigation is underway.

10 comments

  • whopperplopper

    i’ll assume police viewed the video first to ascertain if the threat was real, then with probable cause contacted a judge to obtain a search warrant, then raided the house.
    whoever owns the gun should be arrested for failure to properly secure the weapon from unauthorized persons.

    • jimbrony

      Cite the law that says a firearm has to be secured from ‘unauthorized persons’ within a private residence in PA.

      • whopperplopper

        where did i say there is a law in pa that requires safe storage in the home?
        there isn’t but should be.

      • whopperplopper

        like your intelligent comment about stormtroopers raiding the house?
        that comment is from a paranoid person.
        are you hiding something that you’re so paranoid of police raids?

      • jimbrony

        So just to be clear – you’re perfectly fine with the police coming unannounced to your home at 2 AM and taking a firearm that you lawfully purchased just because someone in your household made an alleged threat? If that’s the case – when time travel becomes a reality I hope your a Jew in 1939 Germany. I’ve got nothing to hide, I’ll invite any member of law enforcement into my home with open arms. Notice the word ‘invite’. No paranoia, I just enjoy my privacy and my freedom. If you’re so eager to give yours up, I’m sure there’s some dictators out there that would love to rule over you.

      • whopperplopper

        i see you have a difficult time understanding simple things.
        I WILL GO SLOWER SO YOU CAN HOPEFULLY COMPREHEND. FEEL FREE TO ASK AN ADULT IF YOU CAN’T.
        no one barged in any house without a search warrant.

      • jimbrony

        Let’s start with this – there’s a very good chance that I’m older than you are. So if anyone is going to be asking an adult it will be you asking me. Next, you’re very adept at not answering questions, not admitting you’re wrong, an then modifying your original statement to make it look like you’re not wrong. Lastly, unless you are the magistrate or judge that issued the alleged warrant, or a Hazleton police officer, or the homeowner where the firearm was confiscated, you don’t have a clue whether due process was followed. So you can just shut up now sonny, I’m done with you on this topic. Run along now and play your video games.

      • whopperplopper

        let’s start with this.
        i seriously doubt you are older than i know it all.
        to your question about cops barging in at 2am.
        you’re assumption that the raid was done without a search warrant is assinine.
        the cops know that to do so without a warrant would nullify any arrest & any evidence would be tossed.
        i suggest you consult an adult to explain that to you since you still can’t grasp that idea.
        now ask your nursemaid to change your depends & to liquify your lunch.
        have him put a depends over your face too, your mouth is the same as your a**, letting sh** out.

  • jimbrony

    NWO? The article should read: ‘POTENTIAL Crisis Averted’. If the thought of the police swarming on your home at 2 in the morning to check for ‘not safely secured’ firearms doesn’t scare the h-e double hockey sticks out of you, it should. If anyone can anonymously use an app to have the police engage your home and confiscate firearms or other weapons – there’s something terribly wrong.

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