MIDDLETOWN — Police confirmed that a local man was investigated in early April for threats to “shoot up” and “take down” a Middletown school. According to the department, the man did not pose a “viable or credible threat.” Local police officials declined to provide more information about the suspect, who was not arrested after the investigation.
Middletown Police Captain Brian Hubbs said that information in the case is protected by federal patient privacy laws, known as HIPAA. But he did confirm that a memo circulating on social media last week detailing the investigation and identifying the suspect as a 37-year-old Rockfall man did come from the department.
According to Hubbs, the April 26 memo was an internal document intended to update the school district on the investigation, and was not intended for public release. But after the memo spread on social media, the Middletown Police Department and Middletown Public Schools issued a joint statement on Friday. The statement did not name the man or provide details on the alleged threats or the police investigation, but said the district has denied the person “long-term access” to school property, buildings or activities.
According to the joint statement, “the individual who has made these threats” is being monitored, and said police are “maintaining heightened awareness and actively patrolling school property across the district.”
Hubbs told CT Examiner that the district and department didn’t name the man in the release because information in the memo spreading on social media is “HIPAA protected,” and they didn’t think it was appropriate to release his mental health information to the public.
“We did not disseminate that memo that you’re referring to to anybody but the Board of Ed members, so I’m not even sure how that ended up in circulation,” Hubbs said.
According to the internal memo from the police, the man made several threats against Middletown schools on April 6, 2023, including comments about buying a gun and “shooting up a school,” and about “taking town” Beman Middle School.
According to the internal memo the man also mentioned Moody Elementary School, but that no specific threats were made. The memo further detailed that the man told an investigating officer that he didn’t want to hurt anyone and “never had intentions of shooting up a school,” but that he did want to burn down a school at night.
The internal memo also confirmed that police searched the home of the individual and did not find any firearms, and that the Middletown court issued a Risk Protection Order barring the man from purchasing a firearm or ammunition.
“I don’t want to confirm or deny anything about his identity, [or who he reported to],” Hubbs said. “I’m trying to navigate the waters, but at the same time put it out to the families that, look, we did investigate this, we did take steps to make sure that he did not have access to get firearms or purchase firearms. We did do a search warrant into his home to determine that he didn’t have any written plans or any weapons that he could use for such an attack. But outside of that, I really can’t comment much more because of the HIPAA protections.”
Hubbs said he could confirm that Middletown Police investigated the alleged threats and “didn’t deem it to be a viable or credible threat.”