BURLINGTON — A federal grand jury in Vermont indicted a Michigan man Thursday in connection with two interstate threats related to Green Mountain Union High School in Chester in February 2019.
Jason Graham, 24, of Three Rivers, Michigan, is named in the two-count indictment for phoning in a bomb threat to Green Mountain Union and threatening to shoot students on Feb. 7, 2019, records show. The indictment also charged Graham with using a Facebook group chat on Feb. 4, 2019, to threaten to “shoot up” the school attended by two student targets.
Graham is in custody on other charges at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan, records show.
No date has been set for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Vermont.
Chester Police, assisted by Vermont State Police, quickly began investigating the first complaint when a student learned about a threatening online message targeted at him at school, investigators said at the time.
The threat was eventually traced to Michigan, and late Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, authorities there took Graham into custody on a parole violation related to possession of firearms, drugs and alcohol, police said. According to Michigan law enforcement, Graham was on parole for escape from a work crew, with underlying charges of retail theft and carrying a concealed weapon.
Graham’s computer was seized, but no charges in Vermont were filed immediately. He has remained in custody in Michigan on other charges.
Police Chief Richard Cloud said it was fortunate the investigation into the two Vermont threats were closed out without any injuries.
While police investigated the threat reported by a student, the second case surfaced. It was about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 7, 2019 that Green Mountain Union received a call from a person who made threats of violence toward the school, including a bomb threat. The school was placed in lockdown as police responded.
The caller said there was a bomb in a bathroom, and if the school was evacuated, people would be shot, school officials said. They said police searched and cleared the bathrooms and eventually students were escorted to the American Legion Hall.
The Vermont State Police Bomb Squad and explosives detection police dogs were deployed. No explosive devices were located.
Assisting at the school were police departments from Barre City, Newport, Rutland City, Springfield and Weathersfield in Vermont, and from Lebanon, New Hampshire. Vermont Fish & Wildlife game wardens and Chester and Springfield fire departments also responded.
The investigation has continued and resulted in the federal grand jury in Burlington returning the indictment Thursday. Michigan records indicated that Graham is eligible for parole April 21, 2021, and his maximum sentence ends Aug. 8, 2029.