BATH

Bath police charged a 14-year-old boy with criminal threatening after he allegedly threatened another young boy outside the Bath Area Family YMCA with what turned out to be a BB gun Monday afternoon.

Police responded to the YMCA at 3:09 p.m. for a report of a male with a handgun threatening people. The YMCA went into lockdown, according to Bath Police Lt. Robert Savary.

Police said they arrived within a few minutes and found a Bath juvenile with a BB gun that resembled a handgun.

According to Savary, the suspect was with some other juveniles and was sitting on a bench outside the YMCA when he had the altercation with a 12-year-old boy in the area. The two know each other and the 14 year old had been out of town so the victim did a kind of double-take as he looked at the suspect, who took offense.

Savary said the 14-year-old then brandished the BB gun and pointed at the victim. He also allegedly made verbal threats. 

The victim ran away and called his mother, who called the YMCA, which in turn called police. Officers arrived, located the suspect and took the BB gun from his duffle bag. However they had no witness and had to track down the victim. This all took between 15 and 20 minutes, Savary estimated. 

Police took the teen back to the police station and after consulting with a juvenile prosecutor, the 14-year-old was charged with criminal threatening, a Class D misdemeanor. He was taken to Long Creek Juvenile Development Center in South Portland. He is scheduled to appear in juvenile court at West Bath District Court on Dec. 4.

Sabrina Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the Bath Area Family YMCA, said after the YMCA was notified of the situation taking place outside the building, staff followed lockdown procedures. These are procedures YMCA employees and the police department have practiced together in the past.

“The staff did a great job with protocols and all the venues were locked down and it was very quick,” she said. “The police department had a very fast response time.”

Staff in the childcare spaces were calm and reacted appropriately.

“I’m very proud of them,” Murphy said. “I’ve talked to lot of members who hardly knew what happened and after, went back to business as normal.”

Children went back outside to play after the incident and didn’t have a sense of worry, she said.

While the event had taken place outside the YMCA, Murphy said she knew it was important to inform members and citizens of what was happening. They did this using an alert email system for members and their social media site.

“We do try to make a point to get communications out as soon as possible as we know people will have questions, and tried to get the message out electronically at once,” she said. 

Part of YMCA procedures call for staff to always hold a meeting the day after an incident to review what worked and what didn’t. That goes for any reportable incident, which normally tends to be medical emergencies given the large population of people within the facility being physically active.

“From my perspective,” Murphy said, “safety is of utmost importance for all of our members and we appreciate the positive relationship with the Bath PD and their response time. I appreciate the professionalism of the staff.”

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