VIRDEN, Ill. (WCIA) — A high school in southern Sangamon County was placed on lockdown Monday morning after the school received a report of a threat on campus.
Just months after a previous lockdown due to a threatening note, Virden Police said North Mac High School was locked down again after the district received a threat by text message just before 10 a.m. The message stated that someone armed with a weapon was trying to get inside the school to cause harm.
The school was immediately placed on a hard lockdown and Virden Police arrived at the same time. They found no immediate threat inside the school.
Officers, deputies and troopers from the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office, Girard Police Department, Illinois State Police and Illinois Conservation Police were also on hand to secure the perimeter of both the high school and elementary school along with surrounding district sites. After no threats were found, the hard lockdown was replaced with a soft lockdown at 10:44 a.m.
Officials said that during and after the lockdown, detectives with the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office determined the phone number that issued the threat belonged to a “Text Now” app. After contacting the app’s company, detectives traced the IP address to an out-of-state location.
In addition, it was discovered that five other Illinois communities received the same threat: Vandalia in Fayette County, and Winnetka, Wilmette, Wheaton and Zion closer to Chicago.
The investigation is ongoing, but Virden Police said the threat does not appear to have originated in the community.
Virden Police and North Mac CUSD thanked everyone for their patience and cooperation, which allowed staff and first responders to do their best to keep everyone safe.