David Oster

David Oster, 18, appears via video in Gallatin County Justice Court on Wednesday.

Bail was set at $250,000 Wednesday for a man accused of stashing a gun used in a threatening video that led to a security alert at schools in Belgrade and then lying to law enforcement about it.

David Oster, 18, was charged with tampering with evidence and is one of five people charged with a felony in connection with the threatening video Tuesday. He appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Wednesday before Judge Rick West.

Four other students are charged with felony intimidation, according to a Belgrade police news release sent out late Tuesday. Those four are expected to be referred to Gallatin County youth probation officers.

From there, probation officers could decide to deal with the students through probation or send a referral to the county attorney’s office to pursue criminal charges. If the county attorney’s office moves the cases forward, the students would then appear before a Youth Court judge.

Belgrade police officers and Gallatin County sheriff’s deputies responded to Belgrade High School on Tuesday at about 1 p.m., after students showed school administrators the video.

Charging documents said officers determined the video was made off-campus during lunch at the home of one of the students. Students involved in making the video told officers that Oster lived there and that they used his gun to make the video, but that he wasn’t there when they filmed it.

The students said Oster got home shortly after they filmed the video, and they returned to school without the gun, prosecutors wrote.

Deputies went to the home to find the gun and met with Oster. He initially lied about where the gun was, charging documents said, but eventually admitted hiding the gun in a portable toilet at a nearby construction site.

The deputies found the gun there and Oster was taken to the Belgrade Police Department to be interviewed. He admitted seeing the video before hiding the gun, prosecutors wrote, but denied disposing the evidence and said he was getting rid of it because he was unable to safely secure it.

One of the students involved in making the video said he was with Oster when he put the gun in the portable toilet, charging documents said. The student said he knew law enforcement was at the high school and told Oster he was going to turn himself in.

The well-circulated video made its way to YouTube Tuesday. It shows a boy pointing a gun at a rat emoji above a list of students’ names. Above the rat is a caption that reads, “Should have kept yo mouth shut.”

Three girls are seen in the video kicking, punching and yelling racial slurs at the screen and saying they were going to beat up the students listed, while a boy cocks and pulls the gun’s trigger several times.

Paul Lamb, Belgrade High School principal, said Oster graduated last Saturday.

Lamb said the high school would conduct its own investigation, talk to Belgrade police and recommend punishment for the students to the school board in a closed meeting. Punishment could range from the students being suspended to expulsion for at least one year, he said.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

Reporter

Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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