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Two teens charged with making a terroristic threat as police thwart potential shooting at North Texas HS football game

Everman ISD will add additional officers at sporting events for the rest of the year.

EVERMAN, Texas — Two 18-year-olds have been charged with making a terroristic threat after police in Everman, Texas, thwarted a potential shooting at a high school homecoming football game last Friday.

The teenagers were identified by the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office on Monday as Brandon Gipson and Isaac Cooper.

Gipson was once a student at Everman High School, Sheriff Bill Waybourn said. 

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office said a person called in a tip around 7 p.m. about an armed person planning a shooting at Friday night's game. Moments later, Everman police added officers to the game and were able to find and pull over the suspects' car near the front entrance of the stadium.

Police at first detained three people -- the two 18-year-olds and a 14-year-old -- who were in the car. The teens were arrested, while the child was released to a parent.

The sheriff's office clarified the child's age as 14 after police originally said the child was 10 years old. The sheriff also said the 14-year-old had nothing to do with the situation. 

In the car, authorities said they found a modified AR-15 pistol and a 60-round magazine. Dozens of armor-piercing rounds were also confiscated.

Credit: Tarrant County Sheriff's Office
AR pistol and 60-round magazine found by police in Everman, Texas.

Gipson and Cooper were charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon in a prohibited place, making a terroristic threat, and endangering a child, the sheriff's office said Monday.

The sheriff's office said it believes the suspects were targeting certain individuals at the game and that the potential shooting could have involved innocent bystanders.

Further details were not released as the investigation continues.

Federal law enforcement will be tracing the gun to see if it's been used in any other crimes and will also try and find the seller. 

Sheriff Bill Waybourn said that Gipson purchased the gun the day of the game for "protection" off the street but didn't elaborate further. 

From the moment police got the tip to the arrest of the suspects, the incident lasted about 43 minutes, according to the sheriff's office.

"Everything went right," Waybourn said. "This is a great example of law enforcement working with the community to stop a credible threat that could have created horrible circumstances at this game. And we need to stay vigilant--unfortunately, evil still walks boldly among us." 

Everman ISD will have additional security and police officers at sporting events this year after Friday night's incident.

“It’s very surreal. It’s very unfortunate,” Superintendent Dr. Felicia Donaldson said. “It’s homecoming. We’re all there to have a good time and support the Bulldogs."

“Since Friday it’s been nonstop, constant busy with questions,” she said. “Whatever it takes to keep everyone safe is what we’re going to do.”

For parents, there’s relief the shooting was prevented but concerns of what could have happened.

“The first thing that ran through my mind was just to tell God thank you because we could’ve been a town today that could have been crying together,” Lawanda Walker said. “I thank God because a lot of lives were saved."

“That kind of scares me amigo because it’s happening all over the country,” Ismael Guajardo said.

Police responded to criticism that the 3,000 fans at the stadium weren’t told of the threat and that the game wasn’t stopped.

“There was no additional threat going on,” Police Chief Craig Spencer said. “Officers were able to tend to this threat within moments. There was no reason to incite any sort of unnecessary panic at the football game.”

Donaldson said the district already has metal detectors and a no-bag policy at games and believes the extra officers are enough support for future games.

“The district is doing everything we can do to keep everyone safe,” she said.

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