Crime

Madison County student who made school threat is sentenced to community service

Erik Walsh
Erik Walsh Provided

An Alton High School student who threatened to shoot up the school in February was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

Erik Walsh, 18, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge on April 12 in Madison County. A felony charge of threatening a school building was dismissed as a result.

Walsh said he was "thinking about shooting up the school" on Feb. 26. He will have to serve 100 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine. The court received several letters from his teachers and Reserve Officers' Training Corps officials in his support, said Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons.

This threat came days after another Alton High School student, Justin Glen-Colley, allegedly threatened to "shoot up the place." Glen-Colley, also charged with disorderly conduct, is still awaiting a verdict in his case. The two Alton cases were not related.

In addition to Walsh and Glen-Colley, a 14-year-old Cahokia student was charged with 12 counts of juvenile delinquency, including making terroristic threats, in connection with threats allegedly made on social media against East St. Louis and Cahokia schools.

These three threats all came after a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, brought a gun to the school on Feb. 14 and killed 17 people, injuring 17 others.

"It seems like when these things start to happen on a national level, we start to experience local people talking about these things," Madison County Sheriff's Department Capt. Mike Dixon said after Walsh was charged in February. "It creates copycat-type conversations. It's alarming people even discuss these matters and make comments, especially in this day and age. ... I don't think people understand the seriousness of their comments."

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