TACOMA, Wash. — Three juveniles — 12, 15, and 17 years old — were charged Monday with felony harassment for allegedly making threats against their separate schools.
Last Friday, police responded to a report of alleged threats made by a 17-year-old student to shoot up Spanaway Lake High School. Police contacted the student who called 911. He reported that he was on a school bus when the 17-year-old allegedly said, “You might not want to come to school on Monday, because I am going to shoot up the school.”
The teenager denied making threats, but police reviewed surveillance video and he can be heard talking about shooting up the school, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office said.
On Saturday, Tacoma police were called to investigate a series of threats against students at Lincoln High School that had been posted on Snapchat. One post showed a 15-year-old with a gun. Another post consisted of a photograph of the teen with text over it saying, “If I am a school shooter I’ll go after the people I hate and then go rampaging.”
A concerned parent later shared the Snapchat posts on Facebook. The next day, Tacoma police officers were able to locate the teen and placed him in custody.
The prosecutor’s office said the 15-year-old told police that he had been depressed the day he made the posts and that he was responding to some threats he had received at school.
In a third case, at Truman Middle School, the accused is just 12 years old. The prosecutor’s office said the student had been suspended from school because of incidents that began on February 2. He had made threats to cause harm, and based on a school investigation, suspension was imposed. Within a day or so, the 12-year-old allegedly asked others on Snapchat if anyone had a gun. This was reported to the school, and the 12-year-old was expelled.
On Friday, multiple students contacted school officials with reports of additional threats made by the boy. The threats were made on Instagram to two accounts used by the expelled student. Students reported the boy posted the picture of a semi-automatic gun. He also stated that he was going to shoot up the school on Monday.
Police contacted the boy and detained him. He stated that he never threatened to shoot up the school.
All three youths were ordered held in secure detention while their cases proceed.
“Any threat to the safety of our children must be taken seriously,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “This is especially true in the current environment because shootings sometimes occur in clusters.”