Two students were arrested Monday following a fireworks prank that caused a shooting scare at Zion-Benton Township High School, prompting a major police response to the school.
Zion Police Department Lt. Paul Kehrli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that a 14-year-old and 16-year-old from Zion were taken into custody before the lockdown was lifted Monday afternoon.
Both students were interviewed and admitted to setting off fireworks inside the school.
Surveillance video provided by the school also shows them setting off fireworks.
They were turned over to the Robert W. Depke Juvenile Complex Center in Vernon Hills with referrals for disorderly conduct, Kehrli said.
The Zion Police Department and multiple area police departments responded at 12:58 p.m. Monday to a 911 call at the school.
Principal Dr. Chris Pawelczyk said the school received notification of what sounded like gunshots inside the building.
The school was placed on hard lockdown and officers and school officials completed a thorough search of the building.
Authorities learned the sounds were actually fireworks. No injuries were reported.
Kehrli said that additional charges for the two students are being considered.
No one else is being sought as the investigation continues.
One other juvenile was arrested and ticketed for an unrelated issue during the lockdown, Kehrli added.
The Zion Police Department was assisted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Winthrop Harbor Police Department, Waukegan Police Department, North Chicago Police Department and Gurnee Police Department.
The shooting scare came less than a week after a person was taken into custody for posting a shooting threat towards Zion-Benton High School on social media.
Police were notified of a “threatening statement” made on social media that mentioned the school.
Police said on Thursday that they identified the source of the post and took the person into custody “pending further investigation.”
The Zion Police Department said there was no longer a threat to the school after taking the person into custody.
A screenshot of the social media post was shared with Lake and McHenry County Scanner.
The threat was posted on Snapchat and included the caption, “If y’all go to Zion Benton chill. We coming to block a person [gun emoji] so if u there leave.”
Below the first caption was a second caption that added, “F–k you Z Mfs got going on?”
It is not believed last week’s incident and Monday’s incident are related.
The school district said that counseling and social services are available for students.