See the update at the end of this post on St. Mary and All Angels School remaining closed Thursday despite the sheriff's department believing the threat from overseas is not credible.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 9, 9:59 A.M.: Students at St. Mary & All Angels elementary and middle school received a most unwelcome back-to-school message: a threat that has closed the Aliso Viejo campus through Thursday.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department announced this morning that the school at 7 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo, "received a potentially threatening email" Monday "that created concern regarding the safety of the school."
That launched an immediate investigation into the credibility of the threat--which was apparently credible enough to school administrators that they closed the school today and Wednesday "as a strictly precautionary measure," according to a statement from Lt. Jeff Hallock, the sheriff's spokesman.
No further information regarding the investigation was available this morning, but more may be released at an 11 a.m. media briefing. The private school serves kindergarteners through eighth graders.
UPDATE, SEPT. 10, 2:56 P.M.: Administrators at St. Mary and All Angels School have decided to keep the campus closed Thursday despite the Orange County Sheriff's Department concluding a threat emailed Monday was not credible.
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"Yesterday afternoon, SMART investigators obtained information that indicates the threatening email was sent from outside the United States," Lt. Jeff Hallock, the sheriff's spokesman, wrote in a press statement sent today. "The email indicated a shooting would occur on the St. Mary's School campus on a date and time that has since passed and that it would be accomplished by a third party. A generic name and physical description of the third party was provided but investigators have been unable to identify, locate or confirm the existence of the subject described."
Investigators are continuing to work on verifying the identity of the author of the email threat, said Hallock, adding, "there does not appear to be evidence to substantiate a credible threat to the campus. At this stage in the investigation, it appears the third party name provided in the email is not a past or present student, faculty, staff, parent or alumni associated with the school. The investigation is ongoing."
Sheriff's deputies will remain on campus up through the time students finally return to their classes, Hallock said.