Teacher Threatened To Shoot Up School, Had Signal To Warn Colleagues Before Opening Fire, Authorities Say

Investigators said Kristen Thompson told three fellow teachers she’d send them a message saying “the squash is ripe” as a warning to get out of the building.

By Jill Sederstrom

A North Carolina teacher who investigators say threatened to “shoot up” the elementary school where she worked allegedly warned other teachers of her plans and told them she’d send them a special message before opening fire.

The allegations against Kristen Thompson surfaced after she abruptly resigned from her teaching position Friday. Several of Thompson’s fellow teachers told authorities that she had threatened to shoot up the Pathways Elementary School in Hillsborough, according to a statement from Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Thompson allegedly even told three fellow teachers that she’d warn them before any violence by sending them a message saying “the squash is ripe,” according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Raleigh News & Observer. Police said she told them if they received the message they should get out of the elementary because she “was going to shoot the school.”

A fourth teacher also told investigators that Thompson had said “any day she does not come in and shoot the school is a good day.”

According to the arrest warrant, the incidents occurred on May 6, however, Thompson wasn’t arrested for communicating a threat of mass violence until Tuesday.

Kristen Thompson

Seth Stephens, a spokesman for Orange County Schools, wouldn’t comment on the specific timeline of events but told the local paper the administration contacted law enforcement “immediately” after they heard of the alleged threat.

Parents at the elementary school were shocked by the allegations.

“In these days and times just to say something like that is sad,” parent Nadiyah McGriff told local station WNCN.

Thompson’s role as a teacher made the allegations even scarier, parents said.

“Apparently she’s got a lot more problems than what everybody knew about,” parent Donna Underwood said.

Alicia Stemper, a public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, told the local station that Thompson is no longer allowed on school property.

“They always say if you see something say something, that goes for if you hear something,” she said.

Thompson has been given a $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court again in June.

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