A St. James High School student was arrested on Feb. 27, for allegedly making threats to “shoot the school up.” Tristan Michael Dillard, age 17, was charged with making a terrorist threat.

According to the probable cause statement, an officer was contacted by Principal Phil West, who requested the officer come to the school. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with West in his office. The principal explained he had received a text message from a student, saying a different student, Tristan Michael Dillard, had become angry in class and was making threats.

The probable cause statement said Dillard became angry at a substitute teacher, because of a new seating chart, and made the threat to “shoot the school up.”

The officer also made contact with Dillard in the principal’s office, according to the probable cause statement. Dillard allegedly would not speak to West when asked questions about his reasons for making the threat. According to the statement, the officer decided to speak with the other student about what was said, and advised Dillard he was doing so.

The officer asked the student what was said in class, and according to the probable cause statement, the student explained the situation occurred in class as they were asked to sit in new assigned seats. The student said Dillard was absent the previous day and did not wish to sit in his new seat, given by the substitute teacher. In the probable cause statement, the student said Dillard became angry with the substitute.

As Dillard was walking back to his seat, he allegedly said, “I’m going to shoot up the school.” The student told the officer Dillard “looked angry the rest of class,” according to the probable cause statement. The student also said he was “a bit scared” and sent West an email, informing him of what happened.

According to the probable cause statement, the student gave the officer names of two other students who had heard what Dillard said. The officer made contact with these students. One told the officer he was not sure if Dillard meant anything by the threat, but had “really bad anger issues.”

When of the students made “a scared looking face,” at Dillard, who allegedly  told them, “It wouldn’t be the students, just the teachers,” according to the probable cause statement. It was again stated Dillard had anger issues.

The officer also contacted the substitute teacher, who said they did not hear Dillard make the remarks in class.

The officer advised Dillard of his Miranda rights, and according to the probable cause statement, Dillard confirmed he understood them, and spoke to the officer about the incident.

According to the probable cause statement, Dillard told the officer he had “been really angry due to personal issues in his family.” Dillard allegedly told the officer these issues have been causing him “a lot of stress.” Dillard told the officer he had been arguing with the substitute, say they had “accused him of moving a desk from it’s original position,” to which Dillard responded, saying it had been there all year.

Dillard told the officer the the substitute continued to argue with him, cutting him off in mid sentence and said she “did not care.” She allegedly told Dillard he had not been in the class to know what had been going on in class. Dillard told the officer he had been assigned in-school suspension on Monday.

According to the probable cause statement, Dillard told the officer he “could bring a gun to the school,” but claimed he never said he would shoot anyone.

Dillard also allegedly to the officer he “knows there are students in the class that do not like him.”

Dillard was booked into the jail and held on a 24 hour hold.

On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Merlyn Johnson, superintendent of the St. James School District, released a statement.

“On Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, the district heard rumors that a student had made threats of violence involving the high school,” Johnson said. “We immediately notified law enforcement authorities and the student was removed from class. Based on the investigation at this point, we don’t believe there was a significant risk, and we have taken disciplinary steps to assure that this situation will not recur.”

Johnson added the school district values the safety of their students, and asks the community to continue to notify law enforcement and school officials immediately when hearing a safety concern.