Police: Threats To Daycares, Preschools Were Not Credible

Jan 22, 2019, 7:23 PM | Updated: Jan 23, 2019, 12:45 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The phoned-in threats to numerous daycare centers in the Salt Lake Valley weren’t credible, police said. Even so, the caller caused disruption and panic at more than a dozen locations.

“A male caller is calling schools stating he is in the parking lot and threatening violence on the school,” said a statement from Salt Lake City Police.

Several police agencies responded to the threats in Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights and Millcreek.

“We do not have any information at this time that would make us think that these threats are credible,” Unified Police said in a statement. “We will continue to respond to any threats, real or otherwise, of harm to children and schools in our community.”

The owner of a daycare that received one of the threatening phone calls said it shattered their sense of security.

“I just can’t imagine a mind that would want to put people through that feeling,” said Veronica Nelson, the executive program director at Child Time, Inc. “I just can’t imagine how this would qualify as a joke to anyone.”

Nelson said she was in the room when one of her employees at The Avenues Preschool answered the phone around lunchtime and listened to a male voice say that he was involved in a custody battle and had an automatic weapon.

“He very calmly went over the fact that he was in our parking lot and prepared to do harm,” she said.

Staff members at the preschool took the children to the basement where they waited for police to arrive.

“You’re responsible for all these little lives and to have someone intent to do them hard is a frightening feeling,” she said, “and no matter how much you plan, it does leave you feeling helpless.”

Dozens of patrol cars responded to the various locations with lights and sirens blaring.

“It’s not even fathomable to think about shooting up a daycare,” said Detective Greg Wilking with Salt Lake City police. “That’s a really sick sense of humor and on top of it, you’re putting a lot of people’s lives at risk.”

Because of the heavy police activity, nearby schools went into lockout mode, including the Open Classroom, Liberty Elementary, Wasatch, Elementary, and Ensign Elementary in the Salt Lake City School District.

In the Granite School District, Evergreen Jr. High, along with William Penn, Roosevelt, Mill Creek elementary schools enacted shelter-in-place protocols.

“There’s also the possibility that somebody is trying to lure us away from a particular area,” Wilking said. “And then also the concern is that somebody may be trying to lure us to a particular area to gauge our response or to carry out a threat against law enforcement.”

Since the calls were made directly to the preschools and daycare centers, they were not recorded by police dispatch.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Lauren Steinbrecher

UDOT crews working overnight to prepare roads for snowy morning commute

The snow may have died down across some areas of northern Utah Monday night, but UDOT is still hard at work and expects to keep crews on overnight to prep the roads for what could a snowy, icy morning commute Tuesday.
23 hours ago
Exterior of the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple. The temple’s architecture is inspired by the Spanish...
Madison Swenson

First temple in Puerto Rico opening to the public

The San Juan Puerto Rico Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opening its doors to the public beginning Dec. 1.
23 hours ago
Dan Rascon

Parents, students terrified after false alarm at Granger Elementary School

There were some terrifying moments for parents and students at Granger Elementary School Monday after word spread of a possible active shooter. That was before they found out it was a false alarm.
23 hours ago
Moose in swimming pool...
Cary Schwanitz

DWR – You don’t have to report every wildlife encounter

Utah’s mountainous terrain is home to many animals that often wander into lower elevations like neighborhoods.
23 hours ago
UDOT Station Supervisor Shawn Wright, and snowplow driver Nick Kesler look over one of the plows be...
Jed Boal

UDOT snowplow drivers are ready for the winter roads

Utah snowplow drivers are prepared for the incoming snow fall hitting the state this week.
23 hours ago
The crashed truck inside the Springville insurance office. (Mapleton City Fire Department)...
Michael Houck

Distracted driving causes car crash into insurance office, police say

A car drove into an insurance agency after a traffic accident where a vehicle ran a red light, hitting another car Monday. 
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Police: Threats To Daycares, Preschools Were Not Credible