Behind the scenes of Loy Norrix’s shooting threat

Ourania Alexopoulos, AV Editing Team

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November 12, the day after school was canceled for a threat against the school, the parking lot at Loy Norrix sits close to empty. Students who felt that it was unsafe to attend school this day were excused from their classes.

It’s been a long and restful weekend. Your last minute assignments have just been completed, and what better way to celebrate than scrubbing through social media. That is, until the post you come across states, “Shooting up Norrix tomorrow @ 8am.”

Late Sunday evening on November 10, a threat was made towards Kalamazoo’s Loy Norrix High School by a Facebook page of the name “John Gabbon.”

Despite having LN students as friends throughout his page, his identity still remains unknown. So, what precautions are deemed necessary when something like this occurs? Who exactly gets involved with these types of situations?

According to 9NEWS, when a shooting threat is made towards a school, the first step in ensuring it’s seriousness is evaluating the overall credibility of the threat itself. If it’s possible to pinpoint the location of the threat, the mental wellness of the publisher must be immediately addressed.

Loy Norrix’s Registrar, April Alexopoulos, has twin daughters that attend the school. After the Facebook post had gotten some reasonable exposure, my sister and I brought the matter to Alexopoulos because she could contact other staff more quickly than we could. After consulting with her, the news was thankfully passed on to the KPS administration and law enforcement. 

Senior Riley Dominanni’s father and WWMT news anchor, Andy Dominanni, also took part in shedding some light on the subject. He provided periodic Facebook posts in hopes to update worried parents and concerned community members.

Within almost an hour, the social media post had blown up. Screenshots of it were being spread on platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, even including concerning messages from parents. One in particular, Amy Bell, posted on Facebook, “PARENTS OF STUDENTS AT LOY NORRIX, TAKE CAUTION MINE WON’T BE THERE.”

After the threat had circulated for a prolonged amount of time, parents received an automated call from the school, stating that on Monday, November 11, school would be cancelled in response to the threat.

Following the cancellation of Loy Norrix’s classes, a new threat was then made to neighboring school, Kalamazoo Central. To ensure the safety of other school’s in the area, close middle schools such as Linden Grove and Hillside were also closed.

A unified fear has been instilled among the residents of Kalamazoo due to the sudden threats made on November 10. The infamous John Gabbon has still not been taken into custody, and with a new threat made towards Portage Northern following late November 11, a message was sent out to students informing them of its cancellation November 12. 

In response to the threats, Loy Norrix has taken reasonable measures to ensure a feeling of overall safety throughout the school. As of today, students were greeted with a metal detector on the way into school, along with bomb dogs and extra police. Administration has been in contact with state, local, and county police officials in order to further push the investigation into John Gabbon’s real identity. As of now, neither officers or dogs have found any additional evidence regarding the threats. The school has also put out a “substantial reward” for any student who has solid evidence to help in the investigation.