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Threat to Wausau West student averted, gunman apprehended

Wausau West High School in the Wausau School District. Image taken 6/24/2011.
Wausau West High School in the Wausau School District. Image taken 6/24/2011.
Wausau Deputy Police Chief B... (Download MP3)
Wausau Schools Director of P... (Download MP3)

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  Wausau West High School was locked down for a short time Friday beginning around 11:30 a.m. Wausau Schools Director of Pupil Services Jeff Lindell says, "We had a credible threat against one of our students by an individual that’s not one of our students in the district and the threat was significant enough that we felt it was important enough to do a “soft lockdown” of our building here at West and make sure that in the event a situation could come into our building, we were prepared and ready to react.”

He explained the “soft lockdown” is where movement is allowed within the building and classes go on as usual even though the entrances are secured.

Lindell says the student who felt threatened did the right thing.  "The threat came to our attention via the student. The student that received the threat, that person felt comfortable enough to come to an adult in the building and say something is wrong with this and I need your assistance.”

Wausau Deputy Police Chief Bryan Hilts says they apprehended 18-year-old Marcos Garza in the 600 block of Jefferson Street without incident.  Hilts says Garza was armed with a 40 caliber handgun.  Garza is now at the Marathon County Jail where investigators are interviewing him.  

Lindell says the threatening person is a male and the potential victim is female.

The threats were sent as text messages to the student’s cellphone.  Nearby Newman Catholic High School and St. Anne’s Elementary School were also under lockdown while the situation was investigated.