GREENFIELD, Ind.- Greenfield police made two arrests after a threat was made toward Greenfield-Central High School’s graduation rehearsal.
Investigators said 18-year-old Clayton Smith was arrested on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit intimidation and a 17-year old was also taken into custody, after they were accused of threatening to shoot up the Friday morning event.
It comes a day before graduation ceremonies and two weeks after the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School.
“We take these very seriously, as I said earlier, we are not going to blow this off as a joke. And it sickens me to think that someone may think that talking about conducting a school shooting or violence against anyone, whether it be at a school or any place else, is going to be looked upon any other way than very seriously and so we take this very seriously,” Greenfield Police Chief Jeff Rasche said.
According to court documents, an officer received a message reporting someone told them they walked in on the two teens talking about shooting up the school during graduation rehearsal.
Court documents say when police interviewed the juvenile he “…said they talked about him having to go to commencement tomorrow. They discussed shooting up the commencement in a joking matter. Smith said he would do it for free because he doesn’t like any of the seniors anyway. [The juvenile] said that he was also picked on a lot too. He didn’t really like the seniors anyway.”
The teen told police that he said he would pay Smith to shoot up the school, but insisted he wasn’t serious, according to court documents.
Investigators stated they were told there are firearms in the home, but that they were locked up.
Authorities also interviewed Smith, who is a junior, after they heard of the threat. Smith said he did not have a gun and his family did not own guns.
Documents state Smith “….described it as a ‘bad joke’ and that it was something they would never do. ‘We were making a joke about someone shooting up commencement practice.’ Clayton claimed that [the juvenile] brought it up and that he, Clayton led [the juvenile] on. Clayton suggested that [the juvenile] hire someone to do it, and [the juvenile] said that he would pay Clayton to do it.”
Investigators said Smith smiled and grinned throughout the interview.
“Any time there’s anything like this, we’re gonna have to take it incredibly seriously and we want to do everything we can to work with law enforcement to ensure the public safety,” Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
School safety was already slated for discussion at the district’s board meeting next week.
“We’re not looking for a knee jerk reaction to do things that may seem like the right things to do. We want to make sure that the things that we’re doing to make our schools safer truly achieve that objective,” Greenfield Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Harold Olin said.
But before that discussion, the focus is on Saturday’s graduation ceremony. Officers are usually there, but police said there will be an additional one there as well.
“I feel like that we need to let the seniors at Greenfield Central High School and their parents know that at this time we don’t feel like there’s any ongoing threat,” Rasche said.
Police also reminded residents if they see something to say something.