Madison mom seeks protective order as police probe classmate’s threats to kill daughter

A Madison woman is seeking a restraining order after she says a Daniel Hand High School student threatened to kill her daughter.

MADISON — A local mother is seeking a protective order as police investigate threatening text messages sent to her daughter by a Daniel Hand High School classmate.

The woman said the boy called her daughter vulgar names in the messages, and then threatened to shoot the girl at school.

“He said, ‘you better save your air because I’m going to shoot you,’” the woman said in an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which is withholding her name to protect her daughter’s identity.

“All I could picture was my daughter on the floor gasping for air.”

But the woman said a judge will not consider issuing the protective order until a hearing is held April 5. The judge agreed to the hearing after the woman said she filed a second request for a protective order.

The boy, whose identity is not being released because of his age, was issued a juvenile summons for breach of peace and threatening. He was released to the custody of his parents after he was given a date to appear in juvenile court, Madison Police Capt. Joseph Race said.

The text messages, which the woman said she discovered Wednesday on her daughter’s cellphone, have sparked concern for the family and school community.

“There was a long string of texts,” Race said. “We have pages, so there were references to school, to after school. It’s all over the place.”

Schools Superintendent Craig Cooke said the district was notified about the threat late Wednesday.

“If at any time we felt that school was not safe to hold in-person, we would cancel school,” Cooke said in an email.

Cooke declined to say whether the male student was suspended.

“I am unable to share that protected student information,” he said.

Race said the department looks at this type of threat very seriously.

“We will fully investigate it,” he said. “It can’t just be looked at as kids doing kids’ stuff. This is a threat of violence, using a firearm.”

The juvenile’s family legally owned guns that were properly permitted and locked in a safe, Race said.

But police were unable to seek a risk warrant, which would have required the family to turn over the guns since the teen was not the owner of the weapons, Race said.

“That’s the law, they are not the juvenile’s weapons,” Race said.

But the boy’s parents voluntarily turned over the weapons to police for safekeeping late Wednesday, Race said.

“They willingly complied and we are very grateful,” he said.

Extra officers were at Daniel Hand High School Thursday and more were expected Friday, Race said. He said there will also be increased police presence for some of the weekend events that are planned.

“We’re doing everything we can to make everyone at ease,” Race said. “It’s an unsettling thing.”

The woman said her daughter had never dated the boy and she does not understand why he sent the degrading and threatening text messages.

“I don’t consider this threat gone,” the woman said. “It was a very helpless feeling.”

The woman also pointed to the gap in the state’s risk warrant law. That’s something Connecticut Against Gun Violence and other advocacy groups are working to close by supporting legislation before the Judiciary Committee that would expand the state’s risk warrant law, which allows police to seize guns from a person who may be a threat to themselves or others.

The proposed expansion of the law would allow police to intervene if a person is a threat to cause harm and has access but does not own the guns. It would also allow family members, household members and intimate dating partners to obtain a civil protection order requiring the person to turn over the weapons.

The law is mostly used to prevent suicides, said Jeremy Stein, executive director of CTAGV. But in this case, it would have allowed police to seize the guns if the family didn’t agree to turn them over, he said.

“The gun owner did the responsible thing,” Stein said.

But there will be other situations where the courts and police will not be able to intervene unless the law is expanded, Stein said.

“The original intent of the proposed expansion is to prevent this type of scenario,” Stein said. “We want to make sure the court is able to do something in extreme circumstances.”

The Madison woman wants the teen who threatened her daughter to receive help. She also wants her daughter to feel safe when she is at school.

“The threat was immediate, but I think it’s a springboard to another conversation about keeping kids safe and what the courts and police can do,” the woman said.

Sarah Page Kyrcz contributed to this story.

Connecticut Media Group