Man arrested after threats made to Southwest Tech

Published: Nov. 1, 2017 at 6:04 PM CDT
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One man was arrested after he made threats to a student at Southwest Technical College. Police say William Howell was behind those threats which prompted school officials to evacuate and shut down for the day.

School officials say they started evacuating the school at around 8 Wednesday morning after a student came to them saying that there were threats posted on social media about a student.

"We train if you see something, say something. It's better to know and act on information than not be able to deal with a situation,” said Jason Wood, Southwest Technical College President.

Police say William Howell, who is not a student at the college, sent vague threats to his estranged wife who is a student at Southwest Tech. He made the threats Tuesday night after a man liked photos of his kids on facebook. Detectives say that led howell to believe she was having an affair with the man.

There was really no specific threats to harm or mass harm at the school or anything like that. It was geared to one person but the threats were vague enough initially. Southwest tech, they made the right call in shutting down, until we could find out what the threats were and who was all involved,” said Sheriff Nate Dreckman, Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

Police say Howell was messaging her on Facebook and texting her saying he was going to show up at the school and beat the man up. That's when his estranged wife emailed a staff member about the threat.

"We appauld obviously her sending the message to the professor but unfortunately if she would have called us early this morning, this could have been taken care of well before school opened and we would not be in this situation right now,” said Sheriff Dreckman.

Authorities say Howell never showed up at the school and was later arrested at his home.

But the Sheriff wants the public to know if there is a threat contact law enforcement first.

"My encouragement to people is that just simply pick up the phone and call us. Don't try to message us through our Facebook page or send messages to anybody else. Don't rely on that because they can be lost, they can be put in different folders and they may not show up in time for us to do something about it in time. So, just pick up the phone and call,” said Sheriff Dreckman.

Police say Howell was arrested for disorderly conduct. The school will be closed for the rest of the day but will reopen as normal Thursday morning.