Teacher accused of school threat warned others 2 weeks before arrest, warrant says

An arrest warrant obtained Wednesday says an Orange County Schools teacher warned three other teachers how to know when to leave if she decided to shoot up the school.

The warrant indicates teachers at Pathways Elementary School knew about Kristen Thompson’s threats for at least two weeks before she was charged.

Thompson was arrested Tuesday in Durham County, where she lives, and charged with “communicating a threat of mass violence,” an arrest warrant shows. Her first appearance will be Thursday in an Orange County courtroom in Hillsborough.

The warrant says Thompson allegedly told three other teachers to get out of Pathways Elementary School in Hillsborough if they got a message saying “the squash is ripe,” because that meant “she was going to shoot the school.”

According to the warrant, Thompson also told a fourth teacher “any day she does not come in and shoot the school is a good day.”

The warrant notes those alleged incidents took place May 6; Thompson was not arrested until May 21, four days after she abruptly resigned from the school.

Orange County Schools spokesman Seth Stephens declined to comment Wednesday on the timeline of events.

On Tuesday he told The News & Observer, “Once school administration was made aware about an alleged threat by Kristen Thompson, law enforcement was contacted immediately.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 919-245-2900.

Staff writer Joe Johnson contributed to this report.

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