, Muskogee, OK

December 19, 2012

B'ville schools close for rest of year after man seen with gun

Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Bartlesville school officials canceled classes Wednesday after an armed man was reportedly seen near Bartlesville High School, where a student is alleged to have planned an attack. The student is in jail.

Superintendent Gary Quinn said the schools will reopen after the holiday break. Officials said a resident reported seeing two men, one of whom had a gun, near the high school Tuesday.

"Not knowing what these individuals were doing and not being able to locate them yet ... we made the decision that it would be in the best interest of our students not to have school today," Quinn said.

Police Capt. Jay Hastings said it's possible the men were hunting in a wooded area with a pond behind the school, although he noted hunting within the city limits is illegal.

"Until we locate these two subjects and find out exactly what they were doing, we take it seriously," Hastings said.

"It may not have been anything to do with the school, but unfortunately they parked on school property," he added.

The school closures come just days after Bartlesville High School student Sammie Chavez, 18, was charged with plotting to shoot classmates and detonate bombs at the school. Chavez, who was arrested Friday, the day of the deadly Connecticut school shooting, remains jailed on $1 million bond.

Chavez was charged Friday with one felony count of planning to perform an act of violence. Court records do not list an attorney for Chavez, and calls to a number for Chavez listed in court documents went to a recorded message saying the line wasn't available. A court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

A search of the home where Chavez lived with his mother uncovered a .22-caliber, semi-automatic rifle that had been converted into a "pistol grip type rifle," according to a search warrant return filed Tuesday.

Police also seized marijuana and drug paraphernalia, two swords, a pair of brass knuckles and notes that Hastings has said were related to a planned attack. The search also revealed photos of several graduating seniors that had been cut out of a newspaper insert and placed into a small black photo album, along with drawings entitled "RIP Graveyard" and "Suicidal Timmy."

Police said no bomb-making materials were found at the home.