Altoona police say they've identified a possible suspect after threats were made during a Southeast Polk school board meeting Thursday.
Lt. Alyssa Wilson, a spokesperson for the department, said officers checked the area to make sure it was safe and found nothing after the threat was made. Wilson said police had identified a possible suspect and the incident remained under investigation Friday afternoon.
"During the Jan. 6 regular Southeast Polk school board meeting, board members and meeting attendees were notified by the Altoona police that a threat had been made toward the board. Law enforcement secured the area, the board adjourned the meeting and everyone safely exited the building," the Southeast Polk district said in a statement Friday. "The incident remains under investigation. As always, the safety of our students, staff and community is our top priority. The district is thankful for the actions of the law enforcement officials involved."
Whitney Smith McIntosh, a member of the Southeast Polk school board, told the Des Moines Register on Thursday that the meeting was proceeding as expected when Altoona Police Chief Greg Stallman told board members that someone had made bomb and shooting threats against them.
The threat came as the board was discussing the district's safety plan. In a livestream video of the meeting, a person believed to be Stallman can be heard telling the board, "I hate to interrupt you; we have an event taking place outside of your building where an individual has called, (indiscernible) bombs around the building and he's going to shoot anybody that comes in."
"Hard, probably, to continue" the meeting, he continues.
The man presumed to be Stallman can further be heard explaining that officers were on hand to clear the building and escort the board members to safety, and the meeting was swiftly adjourned.
Smith McIntosh said the only potentially controversial item on the agenda related to federal rules for employers to require vaccines, and that it had been removed from the agenda earlier in the week. Board President Chad Crabb said Wednesday the issue was removed from the agenda while the distict awaits a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on a pair of cases Friday.
Officials have not identified a possible motive behind the threats.
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Smith McIntosh said she wasn't shaken by the incident, just irritated.
"It's just disturbing to me that people can't use their words and don't feel comfortable enough to just talk to us," she said.
Chris Higgins covers the eastern suburbs for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @chris_higgins_.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Investigation continues into Southeast Polk school board evacuation