Schools across Arizona on high alert for shooting threats; students could face charges
PHOENIX - Multiple Arizona students have been detained as authorities continue to investigate a rash of threats that have made at schools across the state in the last three weeks.
"We need to take these kinds of threats and these incidents very seriously," said Anita Mortensen with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.
On Aug. 29, authorities said a second-grader was found with two guns and ammunition in his backpack at Cochise Elementary School, in the town of Cochise in Cochise County.
On Aug. 31, Mohave County deputies investigated threats of an alleged "possible future shooting" at Kingman High School. Deputies and detectives were on school grounds on Sept. 1 to continue their investigation.
"If it is determined that any legitimate threats were made, criminal charges will be filed on those that made them," the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said. "The safety and security of our schools is of utmost importance to our deputies and administration."
On Sept. 2, officials say two students, a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, were found to have been plotting a shooting.
"The two students were immediately suspended from school pending the conclusion of this investigation. The investigation revealed that the two students had relationship issues and stated they had been bullied by some of the students, to which they had intended on fatally wounding," read a portion of the statement released by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.
The two, according to officials, had compiled a list of students which they intend to cause harm to. The two are accused of making a terrorist threat, which is a Class 3 felony.
Paradise Valley High School was put on alert on Sept. 7 after people reported a "vague threat" written on the wall in one of the girls' restrooms.
"While there has been no evidence to substantiate this threat, we are taking this information seriously," district officials said in a statement Wednesday.
There will be extra police presence on campus for the rest of the week, and no other details were released about the threat.
Police say a handwritten threat was found on Aug. 31 at Archway Classical Academy Veritas - Great Hearts, located near 54th Street and Thomas Road. Two people were detained, and the school was closed for the remainder of the day.
On Sept. 1, Central High School went into lockdown as Phoenix Police investigated threats at the school. One person was detained as a result. The lockdown was later lifted.
On the same day, police said they were investigating an alleged threat at Sierra Linda High School.
"This threat at Sierra Linda is being looked into by detectives and patrol officer [sic] for the Phoenix Police Department," police said.
On the weekend of Aug. 26, two students were arrested for allegedly making a video threatening to "shoot up" a Prescott Valley charter school.
An incident on Aug. 25 sparked an investigation by Queen Creek Police.
Read More: Child brought gun to Queen Creek school; principal placed on leave, officials say
Officials with Legacy Traditional School say they contacted the Queen Creek Police regarding the incident just after 8:30 a.m., and when officers arrived at the school, staff members had already moved the child away from other students. Police confiscated the weapon, and placed extra officers at the school.
School officials later announced that the school's principal was placed on administrative leave, pending the completion of a review.
On Sept. 7, officials with Queen Creek Police say they have submitted charges to the Pinal County Attorney's Office for consideration. Specifically, a charge of felony weapons possession, as well a charge of misdemeanor involving weapons misconduct were submitted for the student. Meanwhile, charges of contributing to delinquency and dependency were submitted for each of the student's parents.
Should charges be filed in the case, officials with Queen Creek Police say the child will be referred to the Pinal County Juvenile Justice Court System.
San Tan Valley
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office says an 8th-grade student brought a gun to Circle Cross Ranch on Aug. 31. Deputies responded to the school on Sept. 1, and searched the student in question.
"The student was searched and had no weapons on him today, but admitted to having one yesterday," the sheriff's office said.
A female student has been arrested on Sept. 7 after multiple threats were found on campus at Horizon High School.
Parents were alerted about some graffiti in the girls' bathroom that suggested a school shooting would take place. Later in the day, they found a second message in the same handwriting.
The school says there is no evidence an attack would be carried out, but extra police will be on campus for the rest of the week.
On Sept. 6, officials with the Scottsdale Police Department say a student at BASIS charter school wrote a note that threatened a school shooting on campus. That student later admitted to producing the note as a ‘joke.'
"The BASIS school administration will determine proper school discipline for the 10-year-old student. Scottsdale Police will work with the administration to determine any legal consequences the student may face through the juvenile legal system.," read a portion of the statement.
This story was reported from Phoenix.