Attorney for pilot who flew low over Badin High School: It's all a "misunderstanding"

Man taken into custody after allegedly threatening to fly a plane into Badin High School. (WKRC/Mike Williams)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - A plane was seen circling around Badin High School on Thursday morning. The pilot was taken into custody, but the man, a former student of the school, was later released

After a day of trying to piece together information, Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit tweeted that after an exhaustive investigation, police determined there was no evidence of any threat or plan to attack any person or school.

It was a day that a small plane raised big concerns.

Neighbors say it’s common to see planes of all sizes flying over Badin High School, but it was tone particular smaller plane that raised enough concern to be surrounded by Hamilton Police Officers at the Butler County Regional Airport.

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit says the pilot landed the plane a short time after people at the school called the airport to complain about a low flying plane.

Badin Principal Brian Pendergest says students were alerted about a possible threat. There was no lockdown or evacuation.

For hours, police guarded the plane at the airport while detectives questioned the pilot, who was a 2017 graduate of Badin High School. His former girlfriend was a current student.

It’s unclear whether there was an actual threat.

Badin's principal says the pilot had his pilot’s license for a few years. He did say that police did interview a couple of Badin students who had recent conversations with the pilot who was in custody, but now are assumed to be released without charges being filed.

Badin's principal also says the pilot received his pilot’s license while a student at the school.

Authorities also interviewed two Badin students who had recent conversations with the former student.

Pendergest said the school sent home this letter to parents.

March 15, 2018
Dear Parents,
As I am sure you have seen on social media and on the news channels, there are reports that a graduate of Badin High School had threatened to fly a plane into the school. I want to take this opportunity to clear up the information and let you know the details as we know them.
There was a small plane that was flying around the school and neighborhood area. This plane was flying very low but was never even or below the top of the building. However, with as low as the plane was flying, it did cause us concern.
A teacher reported to me that there was reason to believe it was a student who had graduated from Badin. A few adults went out to assess the situation and see where the plane was in relation to the building. After seeing the plane flying lower than would be expected, we contacted the Butler County Airport to make a complaint. We also contacted the Hamilton Police Department to make them aware of the situation. They sent a police officer to the school right away.
There was some discussion with authorities about evacuating the building, but by that time the plane had left the area and it was determined there was no need to evacuate or go to a lockdown situation.
We have been informed by the Hamilton Police Department that they have the pilot in custody.
We continued to work with the Hamilton Police Department throughout the morning and early afternoon. We will continue to work with the HPD as they investigate the circumstances of the incident.
I want to assure you that at no time did we receive a threat to our building or our students. We take the safety of our students and our faculty very seriously and it is our top priority. I put a short email out and a post on social media to let you know that everything was okay but wanted to take this opportunity to send out more information.
As we learn more, we will continue to update you. Please know that the information you may hear on the news or on social media may not be accurate. Information you receive from Badin High School and the Hamilton Police Department are the best sources to look at as it relates to this situation.
God Bless,
Brian D. Pendergest
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