The Fort Lewis College threat suspect is being charged with a misdemeanor. But the school's president calls it “incredibly serious” and “deserving of a felony”
Audio story by Sarah Flower. Web story by Mark Duggan.
A 21-year-old man from Golden, Colorado is being charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor after he lodged threats on social media against Fort Lewis College Wednesday.
The suspect, identified as Bailey Hannan, faces one count of interference with staff, faculty, and students of an educational institution. Hannan is a student at the Colorado School of Mines and his connection to Fort Lewis is unknown at this time.
According to FLC law enforcement officials, Hannan threatened gun violence at the school via social media Wednesday morning. Officials tracked the source of the threat and found that it came from a phone in Durango, which led to a 3-hour lockdown of the school.
Hannan was arrested a short time later at a gas station near campus. A second person was detained at the time but was deemed to be unrelated to the threat and released.
College Police Chief Brett Deming said in a prepared statement that Hannan indicated the threat was meant as a joke.
But FLC President Tom Stritikus, in an interview with KSUT's Sarah Flower Wednesday night, said there's nothing funny about shooting threats. He expressed disappointment in the charges filed against Hannan.
“I want to speak to the DA to understand that decision,” said Stritikus. ”Given what has happened throughout our country, and the responsibility that schools have to keep their students safe, we see this as incredibly serious.”
Stritikus also talked about the increase of threats to schools nationwide and the stress it puts on students and staff.
“This was a difficult day for people and we can't underestimate that.”
The investigation into Hannan's threat continues. It disrupted finals week at FLC, but officials are already working on rescheduling exams.
Stritikus is already reaching out to students.
“I'll be in the union this morning at eight o'clock, buying coffee for any student that wants to show up and just check in.”