A Payson High School student is being held in jail without bond after reportedly making threats to shoot up the school.

The high school and nearby Rim Country Middle School and Payson Center for Success were on lockdown briefly Thursday afternoon while police removed Jason Burris, 19, from class.

Burris had reportedly told other students earlier in the day that he wanted to shoot up the front office and then get on the intercom and start speaking Russian, said Superintendent Stan Rentz.

A student reported the rumor to a teacher later in the school day and the teacher immediately notified the administration, which then called police.

Officers located Burris in class and he was taken into custody without incident, according to the Payson Police Department.

Still, the whole ordeal has shaken up students, staff and parents.

With Burris’ arrest on the eve of homecoming festivities, police say they were glad a judge held Burris without bond so he was not free during the busy, chaotic celebration.

Sgt. Joni Varga said with the volume of people that come out for the parade and then the game, it made it a lot easier on police to know he was still in custody.

Burris has been arrested on charges of inciting or inducing terrorism, making terroristic threats, possession/use of a narcotic drug and interfering with an educational institute.

Police served a search warrant at Burris’ home and have questioned him along with several students.

So far, Burris has given no reason for making the alleged threat, she said. And Burris has not said he had a plan to shoot anyone specifically, or a date picked out.

“Enough was said to be a concern,” she said. “It was definitely taken seriously.”

Police officials would not say if they had located any suspicious items on Burris. They could confirm that they did not find a weapon on school grounds.

Varga said detectives have several leads to follow up on and encourage any students with information to call police, even if they think it is a minor detail.

“In the climate we live in today, we have to take that very seriously,” Rentz said.

In a letter to parents, Rentz praised how administrators, teachers and students responded.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our students,” he said.

Burris has no adult criminal record, according to online court records.

On his Facebook page, Burris’ profile picture is a man in camouflage holding a weapon and his cover photo is also that of a weapon. His intro reads, “wanting to join the US ARMY RANGERS ...”

Contact the editor at

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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