Winter Student Pleads in Terroristic Threat Incident at the School

Monday, January 15, 2018 | SawyerWire |

A Winter High School student, Travis Shanks, 18, pled guilty to possession of THC and drug paraphernalia on January 2, 2018, in Sawyer County Circuit Court, while prosecution on a felony charge of making terroristic threats was deferred.

Shanks was sentenced to two years of probation with 10 days of time served and if he successfully completes the two years of probation, the charges against him on making a terroristic threat in an email he sent to the school guidance counselor, will be dropped and all other charges will be expunged.

According to the criminal complaint, On Oct. 7, 2017, Sawyer County authorities were notified by the Winter High School guidance counselor about an email she received from Shanks, a high school senior, that stated he was upset that he received lunch detention over his grades. He also said in the email, “People hate me with a passion at this school and its #@*ing me up.”

Shanks went on in the email to state that everyone dislikes him and he wished he could change all that, but he can’t. He then referenced Aurora, Co by saying he agreed they knew how to “shoot it up, because hey why not kill the people you hate.”

He concluded the email by saying the Winter school was shit and, “I can’t wait to get out of tis place. BYE.”

According to the criminal complaint, Wisconsin statutes list four elements that make a terroristic threat, and the fourth states, “the actor creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of causing any of the results described and is aware of that risk; the actor intends to cause public panic or fear.”

Deputies then went to the Shanks residence and interviewed him, where he originally denied writing the email, but, then admitted he wrote the email and was just venting. Shanks told the deputies that he didn’t have any issue with Winter High School staff, but that he did with some students and named two of them, the complaint said. He said everyone at the school hates him and has constant problems.

Shanks said he trusted the guidance counselor and that’s why he sent it to her, but told deputies he had no intentions of harming anyone.

When deputies searched Shanks’ bedroom, they found a glass smoking pipe and a Highpoint 9 mm handgun with a loaded magazine in a holster on his bed and another high capacity unloaded magazine (25 to 30 round) in a dresser drawer, according to the complaint.

Deputies also found a small amount of marijuana on his person in his pocket when he was searched, the complaint further stated.

Winter school officials advised they wanted to be informed prior to Shanks’ release from jail, and that he wasn’t allowed back on school property. As part of his bond, he wasn’t allowed near the school or to have any contact with the guidance counselor.

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