Gonzales PD says no weapon found at East Ascension High; juvenil - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Gonzales PD says no weapon found at East Ascension High; juvenile charged with terrorizing

East Ascension High (Source: WAFB) East Ascension High (Source: WAFB)

Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson says no weapon was found on the campus of East Ascension High School during the arrest of a student Friday. A juvenile was charged with terrorizing after a potential threat to the school was reportedly made.

Jackson confirmed to WAFB’s Donna Britt that the juvenile who was arrested is a male student at the school. The department had initially refused to say whether the juvenile had a weapon or if he was a student. Jackson says the student made a threatening comment that was reported to administrators.

The suspect has been transported to the St. Bernard Parish Juvenile Detention Center. That facility has a contract with Ascension Parish to house both male and female juvenile inmates.

Two students at the school say they were told the case involves a male student, who allegedly told another student he planned to cause trouble at the school.

The student was charged with terrorizing, which is legally defined as:

The intentional communication of information that the commission of a crime of violence is imminent or in progress or that a circumstance dangerous to human life exists or is about to exist, with the intent of causing members of the general public to be in sustained fear for their safety.

Police say the school was not placed on lockdown and that school officials said classes were ongoing.

"As this involves a juvenile, the City of Gonzales Police Department has made a decision to release no further information about that juvenile at this time," officials said in a press release earlier in the day. "As there is still an ongoing investigation, we will also not be releasing any further information about the incident."

Investigators say following the deadly school shooting in Florida and other incidents around the county, the Gonzales Police Department has increased its presence at all schools in the city.

The Ascension Parish School Board reports the following message was sent out:

Dear Parents,

The East Ascension administration and law enforcement were notified about a potential threat. The individual who made the threat has been removed from campus and is under appropriate supervision. Our highest priority is the safety of our students and at this time we are confident that our students and teachers are safe.

You may see an increased presence of law enforcement this morning at school as administrators work with them to fully investigate the matter. The safety and security of our campus remains of the utmost importance and will always be of the highest priority. 

Classes are progressing as usual, and our day has not been altered by this. We hope you have a great weekend.

Later in the evening, Ascension school officials sent out the following release:

Good evening Spartans. I would like to follow up with additional information regarding the situation on our campus today concerning the investigation of a threat. In the course of the morning and early afternoon, the City of Gonzales Police Department began conducting an investigation, and one male student has been arrested on the charge of Terrorizing. He has been transported to the St. Bernard Parish Juvenile Detention Center. Police investigators have confirmed that there was never a weapon brought onto campus.

I’d like to reiterate that this is an investigation, and at no time were our students, faculty, and staff ever in any sort of imminent danger. Had this been the case, we would’ve taken immediate actions to secure our campus and protect those within it. This is always our first and most urgent concern. 

I will be sure to keep you informed should any new information arise that I can share with all of you. For now, please know that East Ascension High School is safe and our campus is secure. This is indeed due to our teachers and students who care about our safety and largely due to the support, cooperation and swift action of the Gonzales Police Department. GPD officers were with us instantly and took necessary measures to assist us with the investigation. We feel comforted knowing that this matter is in their hands, and we are certain they will continue to support us in our efforts to keep our school safe.

This has certainly been one of the longest “short weeks” we’ve had in a while, and I hope all of you have a wonderful and peaceful weekend.


Traci S. McCorkle, Principal

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