A teenager in central Missouri shot and killed himself Tuesday as police were taking him into custody for allegedly sending a friend a text message threatening violence at his school.
17-year-old Jacob Meadows died at a nearby hospital due to a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The Southern Boone School District schools were closed yesterday after the superintendent became aware of the text message that threatened violence at South Boone High School. Police decided that the threat was serious and credible, and authorities arrived at the home of the teen in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday to take him into custody.
According to officers at the scene, Meadows was cooperative when police came to take him in, and when they let him go to his room to retrieve clothes, he took a gun and shot himself. It’s not yet known who owned the gun, but authorities say that it had already been in the house.
Boone County Sherriff’s Department Chief Deputy Major Tom Reddin says there were no signs that Meadows would take his own life as officers arrived to the boy’s home.
"He was being very cooperative with the law enforcement that was there on the scene," said Reddin. "He was giving no indication that this was on his mind or that he might act in this way at this time."
While authorities have yet to release the alleged threatening text message, Reddin says that, “It indicated that something dramatic and threatening was going to be happening at school today, to include loss of life.”
Superintendent Chris Felmlee says that the decision to close down schools and alert authorities was immediate.
“Based on the totality of the situation, and the need to ensure that the other campuses were safe, that is when I decided that I needed more time to investigate this thoroughly. It was after midnight when I decided to cancel school,” said Felmlee. “Many resources were brought into the high school building, as well as our middle school, elementary and primary, our buildings are safe, and they have been thoroughly checked. It’s not just the school, it’s the whole community that is going to go through this and need time to heal. It is a tragic, tragic loss what occurred, and it’s going to take time. We’ll work closely with our community churches, counseling resources, definitely.”
Classes resumed at the schools today, and grief counselors are said to be available for students and staff.