Threats towards public schools lead to arrest

Robert Smith
Justin W. Boone

Pawhuska police arrested a local man last Wednesday for reportedly making threats toward Pawhuska Public Schools and a restaurant where he worked.

The suspect was not on school grounds and did not engage in any violent activity there. The arrest took place the day before classes started for the 2019-20 school year.

Police Chief Nick Silva said in a statement that Justin Wilson Boone, 20, was “immediately tracked down to his residence” and taken into custody. Silva added that an investigator interviewed Boone after reading him his Miranda rights, and Boone “did admit to making threats toward the Pawhuska Public Schools as well as his workplace.”

Boone was held at the Osage County jail on a complaint of threatening violent acts. He remained there as of mid-day Monday, according to an online jail population roster.

In an interview, Silva confirmed Boone reportedly made his comments in a public place, in front of other people. That place was Grill 125 on Main Street, where the suspect reportedly worked.

Silva said further investigation showed Boone could have had access to weapons belonging to a family member, and the chief said investigation showed Boone reportedly had a history of making troubling remarks.

“This appears to be a pattern,” Silva said.

The chief said the case had been passed along to prosecutors. Pawhuska police had spoken with prosecutors and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he said.

Silva praised the willingness of witnesses to step forward.

“Without the courage of the witnesses to speak up this matter may have gone undetected until too late,” he said in a statement.

This was at least the second time in 2019 that someone was taken into custody away from Pawhuska school grounds for reportedly making troubling remarks. On the first day back from spring break, in March, a Pawhuska parent reportedly contacted police about a threat vocalized by their child. The youth involved was a student at Pawhuska High School at the time.

Silva said school safety is a priority for Pawhuska police.

“As we have made clear to the community the safety of our schools is a priority,” he said in a statement. “There are no exceptions nor excuses for such threats or acts. The swift action of the Pawhuska Police Department and determination to assure the threat was removed is clear in this incident.”