Missoula City Council praises MPD, MCPS for response to shooter threat
(Missoula Current) City officials on Monday night praised the actions of Missoula school officials and law enforcement for last week's response to reports of a shooter at Hellgate High School.
Mayor Jordan Hess said the Missoula Police Department responded quickly and while the incident was peacefully resolved, it created fears citywide given the nation's egregious number of school shootings.
“There's nothing more terrifying than a threat like that to our community,” Hess said. “I want to acknowledge the trauma and anxiety that an incident like that causes in our community.”
The threat was initially made on Snapchat and included images of a gun with the high school as a target. Both Missoula County Public Schools and MPD took the threat seriously and responded in accordance.
“Our law enforcement trains and trains and trains for situations and critical incidents like this that we hope we'll never see in our community. Threats like these cut close to the bone when they do happen in our community,” Hess said.
When the threat was reported shortly after 10 a.m. last Wednesday, it prompted the school's resource officer to take action. MPD, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the Montana Highway Patrol and the FBI responded to the call.
The school went into lockdown and the school district issued a series of texts to parents advising them of the situation. Members of the Missoula City Council were in committee meetings that day.
“My daughter was at Hellgate. It's terrifying to sit here as a public servant and get text after text. I appreciate the communication, but it's stressful,” said council member Jennifer Savage.
Council member Amber Sherrill had similar thoughts.
“While we were getting a lot of texts and calls, they (school district) kept us up to date and were a big piece of keeping the kids safe, had there been an active shooter,” she said.
Since last Wednesday, the nation has experienced six mass shootings that have killed eight people and wounded 24, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
“It's an ongoing, agonizing situation here in America that I hope we make some progress on some day,” said council member Gwen Jones.