The seven school-related threats in the past two days have left Mid-Columbia parents, students and first responders on edge.
A Wednesday morning report of a student with a gun at Kiona-Benton City High School pitched the school into lockdown.
A student at Prosser High School found an explosive Tuesday, leading to a bomb squad response.
Five other threats — from WSU Tri-Cities to Pasco, Kennewick, Richland and Grandview schools — spurred immediate and ranging police responses.
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There were more threats across the state and nation.
Even a counseling center in Richland had a threat of violence made against it this week.
Washington State Univeristy Tri-Cities was placed on a lockdown Wednesday after a passing driver called police to report seeing someone pointing a gun at a university sign.
The driver told police about a man standing outside of the Wine Science Center shortly before 2 p.m., said Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb.
Officers spotted gun cases sitting inside a nearby pickup. As a precaution, the campus locked down.
A notice was sent out to students, and they were told to get to a safe place and lock the doors.
Investigators did not find any evidence that the school was threatened.
No one was arrested. The gun case owner was cooperative, police said.
Lourdes Counseling Center
A series of threats to bomb or shoot a Richland mental health center led officers to arrest Benjamin Showalter, 39, of Kennewick.
Showalter allegedly started threatening Monday to shoot or bomb the Lourdes Counseling Center in Richland.
Center staff restricted access and canceled some services while police increased patrols in the area, said Cobb.
Police determined the threats were legitimate. However, they couldn’t find Showalter.
Two days later, officers arrested him at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after stopping him for a traffic violation.
He was booked into the Benton County jail on an investigative hold for felony harassment.
Showalter was arrested in July after allegedly firing a BB gun at a vehicle in Pasco.
Pasco School District
Pasco schools had their own scare Wednesday after social media posts warned of a possible threat to an unidentified school.
Officials said said they immediately called Pasco police. Officers linked the posts and possible threat to the threats made against Sunnyside High School on Tuesday.
At least one teen was arrested in that case.
Pasco schools said there are no legitimate threats to any of its schools.
Prosser School District
Prosser police had a heavy presence at the high school Wednesday after a small explosive was found near a portable classroom Tuesday, sending the campus into a lockdown.
A student discovered the explosive outside the portable at 7:10 a.m. and took it to the school’s security office, said Prosser Officer Mark Cole.
The Richland bomb squad was called to remove the device.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is examining the explosive.
Kennewick School District
School officials, already unnerved from a Feb. 16 threat between a student and his girlfriend, responded to a handwritten note in a textbook Tuesday.
The note contained a threat to shoot students Wednesday. Officials and Kennewick police determined it wasn’t a credible threat.
The school had increased police presence Wednesday.
Richland School District
Richland officers responded Tuesday to Christ the King School to reports of a man with a gun.
Police arrested Michael G. Alexander, 36. He had no gun but was suffering from a mental health issue.
He was later booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of burglary and disturbing a school.
Grandview School District
Police arrested three Grandview High students after they threatened to shoot up the school.
Several students reported overhearing a conversation by the other students, said the school district.
The students told a Grandview school resource officer about the potential shooting Friday, leading to a weekend investigation.
Grandview police Chief Kal Fuller said the students who shared the information with police did the right thing.
“When dealing with the protection of our children, we would rather be safe than sorry,” Fuller said.