PEORIA, Ariz. - Police have arrested a teen for allegedly making social media threats towards a Peoria high school.
The Peoria Police Department says the 16-year-old sophomore was arrested after making threats on Snapchat towards Liberty High School. In the alleged threat, the teen said he would "make Columbine look like an (expletive) joke on March 30."
The teen maintains the threat was a joke, however, he now faces charges of committing a hoax and interfering with an educational institution by making a threat to injure others.
A second, unrelated threat was also found written in a bathroom at the school, however, police say it is not credible.
Liberty High School Principal John Croteau sent the following note to parents about the threats:
Dear Liberty Parents and Guardians -
"This letter is to make you aware of two separate incidents involving our campus. Early this morning, a student was taken into police custody after Snapchatting a threat against our campus. We appreciate the quick response by the Peoria Police Department.
In addition, we are aware of a threat towards our school scribbled on a bathroom wall dated for March 30. The Peoria Police Department has been notified and investigated this incident. We have heard several rumors about this on social media with a wide variation of dates and incorrect information. Additionally, we have not found any other factual information regarding this threat. It is important to note that we do not believe this is a credible threat and do not feel our campus is in any real danger.
Each time we share threat-related information with you we reiterate that the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. This remains unwavering and to that end, we will not tolerate direct threats, or social media threats meant to be a hoax, against our school. A threat against the educational environment is a violation of state law and those found responsible will be prosecuted. We appreciate the support of local law enforcement, students, parents and our community for working with us to ensure that our campus remains safe. We also appreciate your assistance in ensuring these rumors do not spread further so that we can continue to remain focused on what we do best -- educating students."
Thank you for your understanding and support.
In Northern Arizona, five threatening messages were found in bathrooms at Flagstaff High School and indicated there would be a"Columbine-type" incident at the school sometime in March.
Flagstaff police are continuing to investigate the threat and patrols and security will be increased at both schools as a precaution.
If you have any information on the Flagstaff threats, contact Flagstaff police at 928-679-4055.