The Penn Yan Police Department and Yates County Sheriff’s Office have provided an update on the threat made on social media by a 17-year-old resident.
Police say that on Friday around 9 a.m. Garret M. Wawrzyk, 17, posted a photo to Snapchat, which showed an item alleged to be a gun with the caption “Eric Harris v2.”
Eric Harris was one of the shooters involved in the Columbine School Shooting — and today is the 19th anniversary of that shooting.
The Penn Yan School Resource Officer Jeff Stewart was made aware of the post and worked with the Yates County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Penn Yan School officials to check Wawrzyk’s welfare and ensure he was not an immediate threat to the school of anyone else.
Police say he was banned from the school and officers determined the gun in the photo was an airlift gun. This morning, authorities responded to his residence and brought him to the police station for further questioning.
Penn Yan police also took possession of a shotgun that was at the residence.
Wawrzyk was charged with felony making a terroristic threat.
He’s being held awaiting arraignment.
Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis called parents and community members after ‘unsettling comments and pictures’ were shared on social media.
While there was no credible threat deemed following the postings — Dennis said that the school’s resource officer and Yates County Sheriff’s Office both worked overnight to deal with the issue.
“You may have noticed an increased police presence this morning in order to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff,” his message continued. “As always, our number one priority remains the well-being and safety of our students and staff.”
He said that every safety concern is taken seriously by the district, the resource officer, and local law enforcement.
“Students and others who threaten our schools will be treated accordingly by the authorities and district,” he continued.
Anyone with concerns are asked to contact Penn Yan’s District Office.
Parents tell us that they received the call notification around 8:19 a.m. despite the investigation beginning the night before, according to school officials.
Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike tells FingerLakes1.com that the investigation into the incident is ongoing and involves both local and county law enforcement. Investigation by patrol deputies led to taking into custody of a 17-year-old youthful offender in the Town of Jerusalem at 11:54 p.m., according to Spike.
He says his office was notified by Penn Yan Police late-Thursday evening requesting assistance on a social media alleged threat report involving Penn Yan Academy.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
#BREAKING: Received this from a parent in the Penn Yan Central School District regarding an investigation into an ‘unsettling’ posting to social media. Superintendent Howard Dennis says there was no credible threat. pic.twitter.com/35wnrXHveS
— Josh Durso (@FLXJosh) April 20, 2018