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Social media threat leads to school lockdown

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Chaves County Sheriff’s personnel talk outside Roswell High School during a “soft lockdown” Tuesday morning after a threatening message was posted on SnapChat. One teenager who attends the school was later taken into custody, according to Mike Herrington, Chaves County Sheriff. The teenager was later released to the custody of his mother. No charges were filed. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A Roswell High School student was briefly taken into custody by law enforcement Tuesday, after a threatening message was posted in a SnapChat message and prompted a “soft lockdown” of the school.

The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Roswell Police Department and FBI took the young suspect into custody soon after the threat was made, Mike Herrington, Chaves County Sheriff said. He said investigators connected the post to the teenager through an IP address on the computer from which the post was made.

The suspect was subsequently taken into custody at about 9 a.m. and then released three or four hours later into the custody of his mother, Herrington said. He added that the teenager was not arrested and as of Tuesday evening had not been charged with any crimes.

Roswell High School was placed on a “soft lockdown” Tuesday at about 8 a.m. after a SnapChat message was made threatening violence against the school. Herrington said the message included a photo of an Airsoft gun that resembled an AK-47.

A “soft lockdown” allows students to be picked up by parents, as opposed to a regular lockdown where no one would be permitted to leave or enter the building.

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Once the lockdown was put in place, the school grounds were teaming with law enforcement personnel and school resource officers investigating the situation. The FBI was also called in to investigate.

When it was determined the school was safe, students returned to a regular school day, according to Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the Roswell Police Department.

Herrington said the investigation is ongoing, while Wildermuth said the investigation is being led by the FBI. Frank Fisher, public affairs specialist with the FBI in Albuquerque, said no arrests have been made.

“We take all threats seriously and will thoroughly investigate this incident,” Fisher said.

Senior writer Lisa Dunlap contributed to this story and can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.