SUNBURY — A threat of a drive-by shooting at the Shikellamy High School occurred less than five minutes into the planned student walkout in remembrance of the 17 people killed in Florida on Valentine's Day.
Sunbury Capt. Steve Bennick arrived at 10:05 a.m. and informed high school principal Mike Egan that a threat to the school was made just moments after the walkout began at 10.
Nearly 200 students participated in the walkout. Students were gathered outside of the school when Bennick arrived and spoke with Egan.
"We need to cut this short and get inside," Egan told the students. "We have been informed of a threat to the school."
Bennick, along with Cpl. Brad Hare, officer Brad Slack and several state troopers surrounded the school while students were escorted back inside to continue the 17-minute memorial inside the auditorium. Within minutes, the students were back inside the school.
"This is their right," said teacher Ingrid Howard, who said she was speaking in her own personal opinion. "As long as they do it peacefully and do not cause any problems then it is their right."
Students walked out of the front doors of the school hand-in-hand and marched across Walnut Street toward the soccer field. Teachers made a walkway for students to provide extra safety.
"This was important to us," junior Darell Lyles, 17, said. "I think we needed to do this to show we are all together."
Senior Heather Beveridge, 18, agreed.
"Awareness is what we are showing," she said. "A recent news article called us the generation of mass shootings and that struck a chord with me. We wanted to show we are standing together and we are aware."
Bennick said police were notified of the threat by the Northumberland County 911 center and officers acted quickly.
"When you take students out of a secure building and place them in the open public it always becomes a safety concern," Bennick said. "We received this call and immediately informed Mr. Egan and got the students back inside."
Bennick said police are investigating the threat and are taking it seriously.
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