Police: Former Sterling man threatened to kill two Dixon middle-schoolers

Blake Alexander Keane

DIXON – A 20-year-old former Sterling man facing a felony weapons charge in Whiteside County was charged Wednesday with threatening over social media to kill two Reagan Middle School students.

Blake A. Keane, a 2021 Sterling High School graduate, now of Wyanet, is charged in Lee County Court with harassment through electronic communication, punishable by one to four years in prison, as well as misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The threats, made Aug. 25, prompted a lockout of Reagan and Madison Elementary schools that afternoon.

The threats were not made at random, Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Brim said Thursday.

A warrant for Keane’s arrest has been issued, and his bond is set at $25,000, Brim said.

The lockout, which closed school entrances so no one was allowed in or out, was lifted before the end of the school day when it was determined that the person who sent the threatening message was not in the Dixon area, police said at the time.

A heavy police presence also was assigned to the the neighborhood around the two schools, which share the same campus on Division Street.

Keane, who turned 20 on Sept. 9, also has a misdemeanor weapons conviction in Lee County Court, where he was charged July 19, 2021, with bringing brass knuckles to the 2021 Petunia Festival.

He pleaded guilty May 6 and was fined $549, court records show.

There is no evidence the two Lee County cases are related, Brim said.

Keane was charged March 2 in Whiteside County Court with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, which also carries a sentence of one to four years in prison, and two counts of possession of ammunition without a FOID card and possession of cannabis by a driver, both misdemeanors.

According to court records, on March 1, Keane, who previously was adjudicated a delinquent minor for an act that, had he been an adult, would have been a felony, had in his possession a Glock pistol and ammunition.

He posted $2,100 of his $21,000 bond March 4, and has a pretrial hearing Oct. 19.

He also was charged Monday in Bureau County Court with possession of ammunition without a firearm owner’s identification card, a misdemeanor.

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.