UPDATE: Accused in text message threat case released on conditions

Rosie Gillingham Andrew Robinson
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Four Mount Pearl schools lock doors as security measure

Rodney Squibb

Rodney Squibb was released from custody today when he appeared in provincial court in St. John's on charges of mischief and uttering threats.

Conditions of his release include that he have no contact with a female the alleged text messages that led to the charges were sent to; that he report to the RNC once each week; and that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

The case will be called in court again June 19.

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(Earlier story)

A teenager suspected of sending a threatening text message to a student at a high school in Mount Pearl was off his medication at the time, a Crown prosecutor told a judge.

Rodney Squibb was quiet when he appeared in provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday afternoon.

The 18-year-old showed no reaction as he emerged from the holding cells in shackles and was led past reporters, who were waiting outside Courtroom No. 7.

Once inside the courtroom, prosecutor William Cadigan told Judge Colin Flynn that Squibb was supposed to be taking medication, but wasn’t taking it. He didn’t specify what the medication was for.

Cadigan also said the teen was a good student, but didn’t say which school he attended.

Cadigan and duty counsel Jane Fitzpatrick agreed to have Squibb undergo an overnight psychiatric assessment.

He’s expected to be released today when he returns to court.

Squibb — who sources say lives in a boarding house — faces charges of mischief and uttering threats. He was said to have caused quite a stir in Mount Pearl Wednesday morning, when he reportedly sent a threatening text message to a student at O’Donel High School.

Security measures were enforc­ed at the school, along with three others nearby — St. Peter’s Elementary, Mount Pearl Intermediate and Mount Pearl Senior High — as a safety precaution.

The RNC responded to the incident shortly before 11 a.m. and Squibb was later taken into custody before being charged. Police said there were no injuries.

According to the Eastern School District, administrators at the school, along with the other three, implemented the secure schools protocol.

A Level 3 student named Renee — whose account of the incident was backed up by others gathered outside the school after classes finished Wednesday — said a female student at the school received a text message that said an individual had a weapon and was inside the school.

Renee said the student informed a guidance counsellor about the text message.

Kaleb, a Level 1 student at O’Donel, said he saw the person who was eventually charged inside the back of a police cruiser.

“Something like this hasn’t gone down in a really long time, so it’s troublesome,” said Kaleb. “It’ll make you think.”

However, he said he did not take the threat seriously. Another student added that if the situation was truly serious, the school would have gone into lockdown mode. Information posted on the Eastern School District website described that security measure as a response to a more serious matter involving an armed intruder.

While a secure schools protocol requires all doors to be locked, lockdown mode involves several additional measures that include the closing of all curtains, turning off cellphone ringers and lying down on the floor or sitting silently along a safe wall.

The students said the secure schools protocol remained in place for approximately 40 minutes, after which normal classroom activities resumed.

Renee wishes the school had kept students more informed about the situation.

“They don’t let us know anything,” she said. “I know that they can’t really do it, but the thing is there’s some people in panic (mode), and what happens if there’s people who are out there who are sick and stuff? What are they supposed to do?”

The accused is reportedly not a student at O’Donel High, but is said to be an ex-boyfriend of the student who allegedly received the threatening text.

 

arobinson@thetelegram.com

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

 This is a corrected version

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Medusa
    June 19, 2014 - 11:54

    Wonderful article. Thanks for share and your site :)

  • Jonathan Foley
    May 10, 2013 - 16:54

    He is one of my best friends and byz he was only joking,he wouln't harm a fly!!! Its just some people are too quick to take peoples word literally sometimes we all make mistakes and should'nt judge others unless you know them.

  • Darla
    May 09, 2013 - 11:11

    Doug , Things happen in any area, community, town, city, or country. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion; however, your comment just displays your own personal feelings towards Mount Pearl and its residents. What if this had been a genuine threat? What if you had a son or daughter attending one of these schools? Would you then feel it is just "drama queens" of Mount Pearl?

  • Doug
    May 09, 2013 - 09:57

    Talk about blowing things out of proportion. Lots of drama queens in Mount Pearl - students and teachers alike!

    • Steve
      May 09, 2013 - 10:17

      Obviously you do not have kids or you do not have kids in this Mount Pearl school. I would like to know your honest reaction would be if it had been your child threatened or the school where they attend. I'm not sure the community is really relevant.

  • Father of two Teens
    May 09, 2013 - 09:54

    Technology is advancing much faster then today’s generation can adapt. When I was growing up it was the deadly combination of inexperienced drivers added to night time drinking activities. Today - it’s the same combination but we have ipods, cell phones, ipads, texting, in car screens, etc which is increasing the risk, when they use these the same time as they are driving. I see it ALL the time. Today’s generation is exposed to electronic devises that give them great power to communicate to others, but unfortunately they (most) lack the maturity to fully understand the consequences of abusing the power they have and the liabilities associated with them. These technical advances should be used to help us, not hurt us.

  • Leah
    May 09, 2013 - 09:22

    If this young man has a mental health issue, I certainly hope that he gets all the necessary help he needs. However, if it was a joke, it's far from funny.

  • nj
    May 09, 2013 - 08:49

    Bottom line, this is a mental health issue - the psychiatric services for youth/young adults in Newfoundland is not what it should be. Yes, it is a serious matter, but for the sake of the individual's mental health (if that is indeed the case and not an excuse for his behaviour), maybe his name and picture shouldn't be plastered all over the news? Just a thought.

  • Marg
    May 09, 2013 - 08:01

    This is a very serious matter, especially with so much of it going on in the world. If he wanted to scare his ex-girlfriend, it should have been between the two of them only and not include hundreds of others. Is "just simply talking face to face" unheard of these days?