TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Taylorville Police responded to an active shooter threat on Thursday morning.
Taylorville Police received a call at 9:27 a.m. about an active shooter threat at Taylorville High School. Officers arrived at the school two minutes later, with several additional officers arriving soon after.
Police began to secure the school immediately while school officials placed the school on lockdown. Officers learned that someone wrote on a bathroom stall wall, which read: “There is a School Shooter in the Building with a gun help.”
A student observed it and immediately told the staff.
After further investigation and reviewing video footage, Taylorville Police learned the student that observed the threat was the one that wrote it. Taylorville Police have identified him as 18-year-old Payton L. Chronister of Taylorville.
He was immediately taken into custody and interviewed at the police department.
Taylorville Police learned that between his first and second hour school period, between 9:14 and 9:18 a.m., the student went to the bathroom to write the threat and then reported it. Taylorville Police report that his motive was to get attention and to get out of school early.
Taylorville Police contacted States Attorney Wes Poggenpohl, who approved charges of Disorderly Conduct School Issue, a class 4 felony.
The suspect will be taken to the Christian County Sheriff’s Office for processing with a scheduled hearing on Friday morning.
This incident comes on the heals of a string of similar incidents at area schools. Pana High School was placed on lockdown for a similar threat on Wednesday, and North Mac High School was also briefly locked down this morning as well. After police searches, no threats were found at either school and both schools have resumed regular school activities.
THS was also able to resume regular school activities after Taylorville Police reported there was no threat to the school or the public.
Taylorville Police Chief Wheeler warns students to stop this nonsense; they will end up in jail.