NORTH BEND — Schools in the North Bend School District sit empty this morning in the wake of yesterday’s school shooting threat.
“Nothing has changed since last night other than we are continuing to follow potential leads,” said Chief Robert Kappelman of the North Bend Police Department. “We literally have dozens of people to talk to.”
Once the responsible student is found, it’s unclear what consequences they will face. Kappelman said that the department will consult with juvenile prosecution to determine what charges will be appropriate depending on the situation. Likewise, the school district won’t know how to discipline the student until more is known.
However, Kappelman had a message for the student:
“If the person responsible heeds our message, now is the time to come forward,” he said. “Talk with us, work with us, put the community at ease. Certainly the same message goes forward to anyone who may know who the author of the graffiti is. Waiting doesn’t make the situation better.”
9 a.m. - According to the NBPD press release from last night, a student attending North Bend Middle School noticed graffiti on a bathroom stall in the sixth grade girls' restroom. The graffiti read that there would be a 'shooting up the school' on Wednesday.
The student notified a substitute teacher, who went on to report it to the school administration.
3:25 p.m. – NBPD was notified and began their investigation.
8 p.m. – The school district sent out a notice to parents about the threat.
10:44 p.m. – The district announced that all school would be closed on Wednesday.
“Between the time we sent out the first notice to parents and deciding to close school, we were in touch with the police and our School Resource Officer who was investigating,” said Bill Yester, district superintendent. “Chief Kappelman said at that point last night they hadn’t gotten any further in the investigation, so that’s when we decided to send the second release.”
The situation remains fluid, according to Kappelman this morning as he sent officers to add police presence at the North Bend High School just before sitting down with The World. Though school is closed, staff and administration members are sending off the band, whose students are boarding a bus to attend a competition.
“For the sendoff this morning, there will be police there,” Kappelman assured. “If the school district goes forward with any activities, we will provide police presence.”
Right now the department is chasing down its many leads in an attempt to narrow the timeframe of when the graffiti may have happened.
“We don’t have enough information to determine credibility, which is why we continue to work on this,” Kappelman said. “We have learned based on national trends that it is not a good decision to make assumptions about credibility without facts, so we’re in search of those facts right now.”
It is still undecided if the district will open for school tomorrow.
“That decision is up to the school district,” Kappelman said. “We will advise them of the status of our investigation periodically as things develop or don’t develop. We will maintain close communication and they will have to make a decision based on the facts we discover.”
If school does return to its normal schedule Thursday, Yester told The World that there would likely be additional police presence. Of course, it depends on what happens with the investigation today.
“Sadly this is the type of situation we now live in,” Kappelman said. “We as a police department will continue to investigate every potential threat as real until we discover otherwise. We will work with the school district to try to help them determine how they’ll handle not only this situation, but likely future ones.”
Kappelman reiterated last night’s NBPD press release that the “children of this community are our top priority.”
“We won’t rest until we have all the facts related to this,” he said. “We hope those facts will be uncovered soon.”
This story will be updated as it develops.
COOS BAY – On March 20, 2015, 4-month-old Dillian Bowman was brought to Bay Area Hospital with a severe brain injury.
That injury was the result of being allegedly abused by his biological father.
Those injuries took his life in July 2017.
Now he may finally get justice.
Michael Bowman was indicted by a grand jury for manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree and criminal mistreatment in the first degree.
Dillian Bowman’s biological mother, Christine Bush, also has been charged with criminal mistreatment in the first degree.
“The child in question, Dillian Bowman Gray ... was transferred to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland in 2015,” said Paul Frasier, Coos County’s district attorney. “Doctors determined there he was the victim of abusive head trauma. He was in a vegetative state and his prognosis was not good.”
The investigation into the abuse began back in 2015.
“Frankly (doctors) were saying he was going to eventually succumb to his injuries,” Frasier remembered.
Because of that, Fasier said they decided to wait on pursuing charges. If they had tried to charge Bowman and Bush back in 2015, it would have only been for assault.
“If the child would later die, it would create potential issues if we could go back and prosecute for the death,” he said. “We made a conscious decision to wait and see what would happen with the child.”
When Dillian was released from the hospital a month later, he was placed into the foster system in Coos County where the Gray family took him in. They adopted him a month before he died.
Of course, when the Gray family began fostering him, they weren’t sure if he would ever recover from his injuries. As reported by The World last year, after Dillian came into their home, doctors discovered that he was cortically blind and deaf, meaning the signals would stop at his brain stem.
“It was like having a television that can't plug in,” Christina Gray described in a previous interview. “The eyes and brain and ears worked, but weren't connecting. He was near vegetative. He didn't roll over, had no cognitive movement or progression. His quality of life was limited. He didn't smile, didn't laugh.”
The Gray family wanted Dillian to have a legacy after he died and continue to work on building a special needs park in his name.
However, after his death, an autopsy was done to verify the findings that the doctors in Portland described. That autopsy determined cause of death as abusive head trauma.
“We worked hard on the case for a while and took it to grand jury on March 20,” Fraiser said. “The indictment was returned on March 20 for both of the biological parents.”
Frasier had information that Bowman and Bush were in Curry County a week before the grand jury. He tried to put eyes on them, but was not successful.
“When the indictment came down on the 20th, the court gave arrest warrants for both of them,” he said. “Curry County found both in the Brookings area. They were arrested within two or three days.”
Bowman and Bush now sit in the Coos County Jail. Bowman’s bail is $1 million, while Bush’s bail is set at $25,000.
“If Bowman is convicted, because right now both are presumed innocent still, manslaughter in the first degree has a mandatory sentence of 120 months,” Frasier said. “Manslaughter in the second degree is 75 months on mandatory minimum sentence. The criminal mistreatment charge is governed by sentencing guidelines. What he gets there depends on his criminal record.”
Updates to follow as the story progresses.
COOS BAY — Because of rough seas over the weekend, the Lady Washington will be arriving later than expected to the Coos Bay’s Maritime Legacy Days.
The weekend storm put the ship behind schedule, but all other Maritime Legacy Days activities are still moving forward as planned.
The Lady Washington is expected to make it to the bay on Friday evening and will be open for tours on Saturday and Sunday.
On Thursday evening the Sea Shanty Concert will take place at 7 Devils Brewery, where the Doo Dad Shanty Boys will be performing.
Friday there will be a concert at So It Goes Coffeehouse, where guests can enjoy the musical stylings of Finnavara and the Nor’ Westers.
Saturday there will be activities on the boardwalk for families to enjoy, including a treasure hunt, displays by the Coos Bay Boat Building Center, the Coos Bay March for Science and mermaids.
According to Tom Leahy, president of the Coos Bay Boat Building Center, the ship has never been later over the years while he’s been organizing the event. Leahy said the ship actually makes it in early most years.
“We always tell people that the schedule depends on the ocean,” Leahy said.