One day after Attorney General Josh Shapiro released information on the first week of the Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System. Police in Hazleton, PA received a call from a communication center with a Safe2Say Something tip that indicated a potential threat of gun violence at the Hazleton Middle School.
“As I said yesterday, Pennsylvania students deserve a safe place to learn, free from the threat of violence from classmates or other individuals,” Attorney General Shapiro. “We’ll never know if this threat would have resulted in yet another tragic school shooting, but thanks to a tip that came in through Safe2Say Something – and the swift response of Hazleton-area law enforcement – fortunately all we are doing now is wondering, rather than mourning.”
Hazleton City police Sergeant Joseph Babula received a call from the Luzerne County Communications Center with a Safe2Say Something tip that a 14 year old supposedly made a threat against the school through a social media site, SnapChat, according to a press release issued by Hazleton police at around 2:30 a.m.
Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale was immediately notified and coordinated with the Hazleton Area school police chief, Hazleton police detectives and Mayor Jeff Cusat. Hazleton police officers responded to the juvenile’s home at approximately 4:30 a.m. and met with the adults in the house. It was determined that there was a licensed Glock .45 caliber handgun in the home and the officers inquired if the weapon was secured and they were told that it was locked and stored in a safe place. After further investigation, officers learned that was not the case as the weapon was fully loaded and out in the open on top of a bedroom nightstand, based off the Safe2Say information.
The gun was seized with the handgun for safekeeping and the juvenile was taken to the Hazleton Police headquarters, with the adults in the house. Currently interviews are being conducted and the investigation is continuing with criminal charges pending.
“In my experience as a career law enforcement officer, tips and information from the public are invaluable tools for preventing and investigating crime,” said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale. “The Safe2Say Something program undoubtedly helped my department do its job today.”