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UPDATE: Police Seek Suspect After St. Peter School Lockdown, Bomb Threat

St. Peter Church and school go on lockdown Monday morning; Students are evacuated after bomb threat in the afternoon.

5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14—Geneva police are searching for a middle-aged white male who threatened to "blow up" St. Peter School if it wasn't evacuated Monday afternoon.

students were held in lockdown in the morning after someone broke a window and left a white powdery substance in an envelope. Then students were evacuated sometime before 2 p.m. Monday when the school received the bomb threat.

"At 1:46 p.m. Geneva Police Department units were dispatched to St. Peter School and Church, 1881 Kaneville Road, in reference to a report of a bomb threat," said Cmdr. Julie Nash in a press release that went out about 5 p.m.

"Geneva units were advised that a subject at St. Peter School was approached while outside of the building and advised by an unknown subject that the building was going to blow up if everyone did not evacuate."

When the police were advised of the bomb threat, "all students and personnel were evacuated from within the building to a safe location," the press release said.

All students were ultimately reunited with their parents or guardians.

"With the assistance of the Kane County Sheriff’s Department and Cook County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 units, the school and church were searched, with negative results," the release said.

"The police cannot speculate on whether this incident is related to the earlier (incident.)"

Police describe the suspect as a white male, about 40 years old with short brown hair, blue eyes and a medium build. He had "a couple days' unshaven face" and was seen driving a white minivan with tinted windows.

The lockdown of and St. Peter School began at around 10 a.m., when Geneva police were dispatched "in reference to a criminal damage to property report (broken window)," an earlier  press release said.

"While at the scene, units were advised by school personnel that a suspicious envelope had been located in the office area where the window had been broken. The envelope contained an unknown substance. (Because the substance was) unknown, it was determined by the school administration, Geneva Police Department and Geneva Fire Department that the school would go into a lockdown.

"With the assistance of the Aurora Fire Department, it was determined that the substance was a non-threatening household product. ... There is no further identifying information on the substance at this time."

At 2 p.m., a  truck and at least a half dozen police officers were in the St. Peter parking lot, overseeing what appeared to be a search or examination of the school.

Nash said at about 2:15 p.m. that the school received a threat, and the threat appeared to have passed.

Catherine November 15, 2011 at 02:35 AM
"Geneva units were advised that a subject at St. Peter School was approached while outside of the building and advised by an unknown subject that the building was going to blow up if everyone did not evacuate." What, they didn't know if it was a man or a woman or a child? Why do cops talk like this? Why don't cops talk like real people?
Concerned November 15, 2011 at 04:37 AM
Where was this man? There were squad cars at the school all day. How was he able to do this without being caught? Knowing that there is a clearly unstable person around the school, I am surprised that the children were allowed to be pulled outside at all. Either we are missing part of the story, or this was seriously mis-handled by the GPD.
Jessica November 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM
It is obvious that all of you do not have all the facts. The GPD does a great job and is often times overly cautious. One without all the facts should really not throw stones!
EHP November 15, 2011 at 02:03 PM
Anyone find it concerning that this suspect's car sounds a lot like the other suspect's car that's been roaming around Mill Creek?
Concerned November 15, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I'm sorry - but I think it is rather alarming that a man even had the guts to approach the school with a bomb threat when there were police officers in sight (nevermind the fact that we still don't understand how he was not retained). I hope that they find this person. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but the description does match the man who was approaching children in Mill Creek. He sounds crazy and unpredictable to me.
CN November 15, 2011 at 04:18 PM
I'm having trouble understanding the timeline here. I get the rock and window part and the school was on lockdown for that. But then an unknown subject approached someone at the school to say the schoool would blow up if not evacuated. then the next paragraph reads that the school had already been evacuated when this person approached??? How did the school know to evacuate before the threat was made??? Or was there more than one threat??
Rick Nagel (Editor) November 15, 2011 at 04:48 PM
To CN: The paragraph you mention was poorly written—and that's my fault for misinterpreting the press release. Police evacuated the school as soon as they were informed of the bomb threat. That sentence has been edited.
MC November 15, 2011 at 05:46 PM
I think you have to read several articles from various reporters and then know a few other people that were nearby to actually get the story straight. The timeline is something like this: Staff shows up before school and sees window broken. Police arrive and leave Staff discovers envelope Police arrive again for the 2nd time things are assessed and kids are put on lock down police determine envelope not threatening do some searching and leave stranger parks van (somewhere) and walks up to student/teacher/parishioner and makes threat. police come back a 3rd time and kids are evacuated. note, the police were most likely not there when the man approached.
Vicki Danklefsen November 15, 2011 at 09:38 PM
The Patch article and photos of the incidents at St. Peter were done by editor Rick Nagel. Jeff Ward says "I was there for a while..." Why would he have been there? He is not a reporter but an opinion columnist. Does he hold press credentials? Why was he there?
Jim J November 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM
I expected to come home yesterday to at least one message on my voice-mail that there was a bomb threat at the facility adjacent to my house. But, no such message was there. Seems like the City should have alerted the neighbors with one of there "phone blasts" like they have done in the past for missing children. Maybe they came door to door and figured because no one answered, there was no reason to leave a message. Does anyone know if they bothered to let the neighbors know? I know that I should probably not mix a reasonable question (above) with a sarcastic jibe (below), but here goes: And to those wishing to blame Jeff Ward, please. Don't you know it takes more than one wack-o to "occupy" anything? Oh wait, the article said Jeff was there too... But, is two enough to "occupy"? I don't think so. jim James
Jeff Ward November 15, 2011 at 11:26 PM
I was there to give conspiracy theorists like you something to do!
Concerned November 16, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Jeff Ward - I think you are a horrible person for making light of a serious situation that involved CHILDREN. I hope that every citizen continues to be concerned about the way this was handled and there are many missing pieces to this story. For example, did the GPD leave the school or not? If they left the school during any kind of threat to an elementary school, that is failiure. If they stayed and did not catch this man on SCHOOL GROUNDS, that is also failure.
Concerned November 16, 2011 at 04:14 AM
This has nothing to do with religion. So sad.
Bob McQuillan November 16, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Amazing, Jeff Ward gets comments when he doesn't even write the article. Until it is proven that this incident had anything to do with what was written in the Geneva Patch, please hold off on feeding anyone's ego.
Cassandra Lakeland November 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Ann, God Bless you too dear.
Ann November 16, 2011 at 04:18 PM
The first officer on the scene probably assessed the situation and determined it was nothing more than an act of vandalism. He was correct. He probably should have taken additional steps to ensure the safety of the children, but in the end no harm was done other than a broken window. While it's understandable that people are frightened by the thought of "what if", and that questions are arising on how this situation was handled, it's been blown way out of proportion. There isn't much of a story here -no toxic substance, no bomb, no shooting. It seems like every time something like this happens it turns out some neighborhood kids were the perpetrators. My guess is that this case will have the same result.
Kay November 16, 2011 at 05:56 PM
On the contrary, clear harm was done. Students were on lock-down for the greater part of the day, a student was subject to a verbal threat in the parking lot, and the entire student body was marched to another building as a photographer recorded their progress. Students are now frightened to attend school, and that fear will linger. The person who issued the threat to the student was no neighborhood kid pulling some childish prank, but an adult. We might surmise that this adult enjoyed the fear and disruption his threat very efficiently generated, and we might just as easily surmise that the student who was personally subject to the threat will suffer some long term consequences due to that experience. Parents are of course grateful for the safe return of their children and the calm leadership of teachers and administrators, but this incident can hardly be regarded as a stellar achievement of either school security procedures or law enforcement, and it can and should lead to review and revision of how any future such incidents might better be handled. Anyone with sense and a conscience who sees those photos of students being marched to the other school should cringe. Besides indicating poor taste and even poorer editorial judgement, those photos tell the story of just how easy it would have been for the day to end in utter tragedy. As it stands, the day ended in fear that will last, and that, too, is criminal. Yes, harm was done.
Gil Dizon November 16, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Thank you Kay! I couldn't agree with you more. This comes from a concerned parent of 2 children that attend St. Peter School.
David November 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Jeff, not sure why you need to leave sophomoric comments. Vicki asks a fair question. What was your business at St Peter on Monday? Were you there as a credentialed member of the press or do you have children attending? No conspiracy here...just answer the question.
Jeff Danklefsen November 17, 2011 at 04:33 AM
What happened to Jeff Ward's original post from yesterday regarding police efforts? Do not deny us the great wisdom and vast knowledge of the man who knows everything. We eagerly await his posts. The exchange between Cassandra and Ann is also missing. BTW. I was of the understanding Patch required full names to comment.
JB November 22, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Take the pictures of the students and the others besides the police in the parking lot DOWN. YOU ARE MORE OF A THREAT BY DOING THIS!!!!!!! WE DON'T NEED SOMEONE DOCUMENTING OUR CHILDRENS' SCHOOL EMERGENCY PLAN!

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