PLYMOUTH — Cortland City School District is heightening its vigilance after one of its graduates was accused of making a terroristic threat toward Cortland High School.
The suspect, Jenson P. Schack, 19, of Plymouth, made a statement to police Saturday implicating himself in the case, claiming the statement was a joke.
“I thought everyone on my Snapchat would understand my … sense of humor, but I guess … not,” Schack told police in a statement laced with racial slurs and vulgarities.
High School Principal Joseph Mack said this morning he was familiar with Schack, 19, a 2016 graduate who was taken into custody Saturday on felony charges, but he would not discuss the issue. Schack appeared this morning in City Court.
Police said he posted pictures on Snapchat Friday of an AR-style rifle with the caption “Cortland highschool (sic) watch out.”
Mack said the school’s crisis team met this morning and there will be discussions all week long with each grade level about the school’s safety protocols and what to do in the event of an active shooter.
Students across the country have been on edge since the nation’s most recent school shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, where 14 students and three faculty were killed. The shooting has sparked calls for gun control and plans for student walkouts on March 14. Students at some Cortland County are schools said they plan to participate.
The school is discussing having more lockdown drills, Mack said, and he wants students to feel safe on school grounds.
New safety measures have been enacted over the February recess, in which visitors through the main office must be buzzed out of the office to enter the building, as well as existing protocols and the vigilance of staff, Mack said.
Superintendent Michael Hoose also issued a statement following the arrest. He said the incident was reported by a student after seeing the threatening post on social media.
According to court documents, Schack said he is handsome, has a girlfriend and was not going to shoot up the school.
He went on to add that school shooters do not look like him, “they’re nasty and listen to that stupid heavy metal … .”
Schack also added the whole incident was a joke and that he knows who showed his post to the police, including racial slurs. “I know it was a …,” he said according to court documents. “I know exactly who it is too.”
He suggested police should investigate people of African descent.
The Cortland County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office and Madison County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response Team, served a search warrant Saturday at a residence in Plymouth before taking Schack into custody.
During the search at the residence, about 30 miles east of Cortland, police seized an AR-style semiautomatic rifle with ammunition.
Police began investigating the threat Friday afternoon after a report of a man posting photos and video of a threat directed toward Cortland High School from his Snapchat account, police said.
The investigation led Cortland County Sheriff’s officers to Schack’s residence.
Lt. Todd Caufield of the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office said this morning that the investigation continues and he had no new information to release.
Schack was arrested without incident. He was charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony.
He was arraigned in Cortland City Court and sent to the Cortland County Jail on $100,000 cash bail or bond, pending his appearance today in Cortland City Court.
The investigation continues and additional charges are possible.
The suspect’s statement to police
Here is the text of a statement Jenson P. Schack made to police following his arrest in connection with terroristic threats made about Cortland High School. Vulgar, racist and homophobic language has been removed:
“I thought everyone on my Snapchat would understand my … sense of humor but I guess … not. Some …. thought it’d be funny to take a screenshot and send it to the cops.
“This is … stupid. This is America, I have a right to own guns. Look at me, I’m handsome as …, I have a girlfriend, I’m not gonna shoot up a … school. School shooters don’t look like me, they’re nasty and listen to that stupid heavy metal … .
“I could be sitting here doing other dumb … and you guys are wasting your time, there’s a million meth labs that you could be busting. I don’t even live in Cortland and it was a picture of my … dad.
“This is such a waste of time, you can’t even get into Cortland, it’s not like they are going to let someone in with a gas mask and an AR. This is such a … joke, I even said ‘this is a joke, please don’t send this to the cops.’ I know it was a stupid … . I know exactly who it is, too. Those … carry … guns, why don’t you investigate them. This is such a … waste of time, I have … I could be doing today.
“Should’ve sent Officer Reyngoudt, he would’ve known it was a joke, I’ve known him since I went to Cortland, we could’ve had a great conversation.”