Crime - Sacto 911

Rio Americano safe, but tense, after shooting threats

The school day ended Wednesday afternoon at Rio Americano High School without incident after shooting threats found in a campus bathroom last week raised anxiety for students and parents.

Attendance at the Wilhaggin neighborhood school in the San Juan Unified district dropped by 150 students on Tuesday and Wednesday – twice the number of absences during an average school day.

The threat – “I’m shooting up the school” – was found scrawled on a bathroom wall Friday afternoon by a school employee. It said the shooting would take place Wednesday. A note later found in the same stall by another staff member said the date of the shooting had been changed to Tuesday.

An assessment found the threat to have little credibility, according to an email to parents from Principal Brian Ginter.

School went on as usual both days, although the mood was sometimes tense.

The sudden blare of a fire alarm at lunchtime Wednesday probably didn’t help soothe any nerves. Students and staff followed fire drill procedures and lunch resumed after about 10 minutes, Ginter reported on the school’s website. The alarm was caused by a burned meal in the staff lunchroom.

The threat sparked an investigation by local authorities, and by officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. Two off-duty sheriff’s deputies have been stationed at the school, and additional district employees have been on campus.

The increased security will continue through the week, Ginter said.

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.