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Suspect in Portsmouth High School shooting threat had AR-15 rifle, shotgun, body armor in car when he was arrested

Officials closed all Portsmouth, N.H. schools on Thursday after a video depicting a man with a gun threatening to “shoot up” the high school. When he was arrested, police also found a shotgun, camouflage body armor, a red-dot sight, and ammunition.

CONCORD, N.H. -- A 25-year-old man has been arrested by police at a residence in Portland, Maine, after he allegedly threatened to “shoot up” the Portsmouth High School in a video posted to SnapChat.

An AR-15 rifle was found in Kyle Hendrickson’s car after he was arrested Thursday on state charges. The police also found a shotgun, camouflage body armor, a handgun holster, a red-dot sight, and rounds of ammunition. Investigators also found a shotgun in a residence associated with Hendrickson as well as a handgun resembling the one in the SnapChat video in a motel where he stayed on April 12, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.


School surveillance footage recorded Hendrickson’s car outside of the Portsmouth High School at the time the video was made.

In addition to state charges, Hendrickson is facing federal charges of threatening to injure another person.

“The post was a short video of a male sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, holding a handgun with his right hand while apparently filming with his left hand,” according to April 14 affidavit by FBI Special Agent Paul Mullen. The video then shows a school sign that reads “Portsmouth High School.” Text overlaid on the video read “imma shoot up the school.”

The investigators used information from the SnapChat video to link it to Kyle Hendrickson of Berwick, Maine, according to the affidavit.

It identifies handgun from the video as a semi-automatic pistol. Portsmouth Police used social media to identify Hendrickson’s car and trace it to an address in Portland, Maine. He was sitting in the car in front of his girlfriend’s house at the time of the arrest.

Hendrickson told police that the video was a joke, according to the affidavit. He didn’t give any additional details about why he made the video and said he was at the school to pick up a relative’s car keys.


Law enforcement identified Kyle Hendrickson, 25, in a video in which a man threatened to "shoot up" Portsmouth High School in N.H.Courtesy of Portsmouth Police Department

Officials decided to close all Portsmouth schools on Thursday as they investigated the threat.

Portsmouth police obtained an arrest warrant for Hendrickson, whom they charged with criminal threatening with a firearm, which is a felony offense. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Portland police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also involved in apprehending Hendrickson.

Portsmouth Police Chief Mark Newport said that police do not know Hendrickson’s permanent residence but said he is known to frequent the Seacoast area and southern Maine. In 2020, Hendrickson was charged with five counts of second degree assault by the Rochester, N.H., police department.

Hendrickson did not attend Portsmouth High School.

Portsmouth schools opened on Friday.

“The impact of closing schools (Thursday) was not taken lightly, but this allowed the police department to focus on the investigation to identify and locate the suspect,” the press release said.


On Thursday, students were on edge as officials investigated the threat.

“The action that the school administrators are taking does take some stress off the students knowing that they’re keeping our safety as their top priority,” said Marlon Pinto, a student at Portsmouth High School.

He told the Globe that his friends described feeling “numb to what’s going on,” while others are “a bit shook.” He called the threat worrying, and said he’s concerned about how this type of event is becoming a norm.


The closure was ordered Wednesday night by schools superintendent Zach McLaughlin, who outlined his reasoning in a Facebook post.

“As we are not currently in a position to feel that the threat is yet resolved, we need to make a decision.... Out of an abundance of caution and a commitment to the safety of our school community, all Portsmouth Schools will be closed” Thursday, he said.

In the posting, which appeared to be a transcript of the alert call he made to parents, McLaughlin noted that the threat against the high school and the decision to close all the city’s schools can be emotionally triggering.

“I just want to acknowledge the emotions of a moment like this. It can be laced with fear, anger, and sadness,” he wrote. “Amid this challenging time, we appreciate your support as we do our best to keep our students and staff safe.”

This article has been updated with information about the suspect who was arrested.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him @JREbosglobe. Amanda Gokee can be reached at Follow her @amanda_gokee.