Teen charged after threats close 2 Belleville high schools

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Prosecutors in southern Illinois have charged a teenager in connection with threats that forced the closing of two Belleville high schools.

Eighteen-year-old Derek L. Burton was charged Thursday in St. Clair County with aggravated assault using a deadly weapon, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a person younger than 21 and making a threat to harm someone at a school.

Authorities say Burton’s mother called early Wednesday saying he made suicidal comments and was having relationship troubles with his girlfriend, who is a Belleville East student. The threat resulted in the closing of Belleville East and Belleville West high schools.

Several police officers searched the Belleville East campus for weapons. About 4,800 students attend the two high schools about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis.

Belleville Police Chief Bill Clay says Burton was still in custody late Thursday. His bail was set at $55,000.