Stock photo of Trumansburg police

Trumansburg, N.Y. — The deer carcass found at the Trumansburg Central School District on Wednesday with an “alarming note” also had a bullet in it, Superintendent Michael McGuire said.

“It looked staged,” McGuire said.

McGuire added the following new observations to the comments of Chief of Police Thomas Ferretti, which were reported earlier today:

— The deer carcass was found in the student parking lot around 8 a.m. on Wednesday. McGuire didn’t know who found it first.

School officials, including the director of facilities and the high school principal, huddled quickly and decided to play it safe by implementing the school-wide “lock-out.”

— McGuire said there are ongoing deer removal efforts in the area, but that those involve killing deer with a bow-and-arrow — not bullets. That was an additional red flag for school officials, according to McGuire.

School officials are still not sure if the threat was serious, a senior prank or something else altogether.

— Part of the reason the dead deer led to a “lock-out” was because it seemed unusually early (March 4) for it to be part of a senior prank. “It seemed awfully early,” McGuire said.

— The lock-out didn’t have significant repercussions for students’ days, according to McGuire. While the school did implement a “lock-out,” classes continued to be held and students were able to go to the cafeteria and for other school activities.

What was primarily changed was the treatment of the school’s entrances, which are few and easily monitored, according to McGuire.

— There are rumors that some students know who placed the deer carcass at the school. Those rumors are unconfirmed, according to McGuire. (The police chief said criminal charges might be possible in the case.)

— Both the message and the sight of the deer carcass were alarming, according to Superintendent McGuire.

“It was such a strange sight. We were thinking, ‘What is going on here?,’” McGuire said. “We were very concerned.”

Like the police chief, the superintendent declined to say what the message said.

“The message was a little cryptic,” he said.

Earlier — 

Trumansburg, N.Y. — The Trumansburg Central School District went into a “lock-out” Wednesday because someone left a dead deer with an “alarming note” on it at the school, according to Trumansburg Chief of Police Thomas L. Ferretti.

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Police were called to the school at 8:10 a.m. Wednesday morning. There, they found the dead deer at the school with a note that “depending on how you want to look at it, could be alarming,” according to Chief Ferretti.

Ferretti guessed that the dead deer was taken from the side of the road. It had “broken legs, like it got hit by a car,” according to Ferretti. Ferretti wouldn’t divulge the contents of the note.

The chief noted that about a dozen years ago “some kids put a dead deer at the steps of the principal at the time.”

Those teenagers were eventually charged, according to Ferretti. Whoever committed what appears to be a “hoax” on Wednesday could also face criminal charges, Ferretti said.

“The people who did it could be charged,” the police chief said.

Police are looking for clues and Ferretti urged anyone who knows the culprit or culprits to call or email the Trumansburg Police Department.

The school district announced the “lock-out” in a statement on Wednesday “in response to a situation that we believe was a senior hoax.”

“Unfortunately, the prank included a statement that could be interpreted as a threat.  The District instituted a Lock-Out as a precaution … At this point, we do not believe there is a threat and no students’ health, safety or welfare is or has been in jeopardy,” the statement said.

Stock photo of Trumansburg police

Ferretti explained that the lock-out consisted of locking the doors to the school and making sure students and teachers didn’t leave until the school was deemed safe. He says there does not appear to have been a threat to students’ health or safety.

Ferretti wasn’t sure exactly how long the lock-out went on for, but said it was over by 1 p.m.

“We’re still investigating, still trying to figure out who the people were,” he said. “We figure it was some teenagers, probably in the high school.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.