Colonie High School (Photo by Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
COLONIE – An 18-year-old high school student was arrested after allegedly threatening to bring a weapon to the school and use it.
According to Lt. Robert Donnelly, Austin Bishop was upset about getting suspended from South Colonie High School. And on Tuesday, March 20, while riding home on the bus, he told his friends he was going to go back to school with a weapon and shoot it up.
Other students overheard the statement, contacted their parents who in turn contacted the Colonie Police Department. Donnelly said the department received multiple calls.
Officers contacted Bishop and his family, determined he made the statement and charged him with the felony of making a terroristic threat.
Donnelly said police did not find any weapons and do not believe Bishop had access to any weapons.
But, he added: “I hope kids understand we will take every comment of this nature seriously whether it is made on a social media post or on bus or in the cafeteria.”
“These are the times we are living in,” he added. “The other kids did the right thing. If it was just a vent it is unfortunate for him, but we don’t know what a person’s intent is when they say something like that so we have to take it seriously.”
Tuesday night, Christopher Robilotti, a Coloine High executive principal, wrote a letter to parents on the district’s Facebook page in an attempt to set their fears at ease.
“Although rumors have surfaced this evening via social media, flippant responses from uninformed youths or adults as well as understandable overactive imaginations; there exist no credible threats of violence against our school,” he wrote. “We live in an era where all threats and safety concerns must be fully vetted, regardless of origin or intent. As a school district and community it has become increasingly more important to be vigilant listeners and active voices when it comes to the question of our safety and well-being.”
There was an increased police presence at the high school on Wednesday, March 21, but it was only as a precaution.
Bishop was arraigned in Colonie Town Court and released to the custody of the Albany County Probation Department. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 28.