Threatening message prompts Southern Boone schools to close

Authorities: 17-year-old student shot and killed himself while being taken into custody for threat

Student suspected of Ashland school threat kills himself

ASHLAND, Mo. - A threatening text message prompted Southern Boone School District officials to cancel classes Tuesday and authorities believe a deadly shooting is connected to that threat.

The superintendent told ABC 17 News he received a "very ominous" threat via text message Monday night that indicated something bad was going to happen. The threat was directed toward the high school, but the district canceled all Tuesday classes as a precaution.

Superintendent Christopher Felmlee says he received the text around 10:45 p.m. Monday.

Ashland police and the Boone County Sheriff's Department deemed the threat credible.

Police searched the school using bomb-sniffing dogs but didn't find anything dangerous. They searched the district's middle and elementary schools as well to make sure there was no danger.

Authorities say no devices were found in any of the district's buildings and all schools have been cleared.

Along with Ashland officers and Boone County deputies, the University of Missouri Police Department, Capital Police, Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad and the ATF responded.

Around 2 a.m. Tuesday, emergency officials were called to Bob Veach Road in Ashland for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities say they were called to the home of a 17-year-old Ashland High School student, who they believe sent the threatening text message.

As officers were taking the teenager into custody, he obtained a gun, turned it on himself and shot himself in the chest.

"While family was contacted, family was present, law enforcement was present, the student, while retrieving some articles of clothing, retrieved a small caliber handgun and turned that handgun on himself and discharged it on himself," said Maj. Tom Reddin with the Boone County Sheriff's Department.

The teen later died at an area hospital. Authorities are not releasing his name at this time.

Grief counselors will be on hand at Southern Boone schools on Wednesday for students and staff.

Out of respect, Gov. Jay Nixon has canceled his scheduled visit to Fairview Elementary School in Columbia.

Nixon's office released the following statement:

"Our educators and law enforcement officials are dedicated to keeping the children of Missouri safe. This event reminds us of the vital nature of that responsibility. Tragic events of this nature demonstrate the serious manner in which these responsibilities should be carried out. The state of Missouri has made, and will continue to make, law enforcement and other resources available as necessary."

Nixon has rescheduled his visit to Fairview Elementary for Wednesday.

Stay with ABC 17 News and for more on this developing story.

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