Police: student at Sierra Linda HS made fake school shooting threat
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A Sierra Linda High School student is in deep trouble after another student saw something alarming on social media and reported it to police.
It was a photo with a one-line caption posted to SnapChat that said "Planning the School Shooting."
The user who reported it to police lives in North-Glenn Colorado, and the boy accused of making the threat lives here in Phoenix; the two had never met.
SnapChat is a popular app among teens and young adults that lets users take videos or photos, caption them, and share them instantly with other friends who are also on SnapChat.
The photo or video is then supposed to disappear, but the alert Colorado student who saw the post saved it, and then showed it to police.
"It said planning the school shooting, it freaked me out at first, so I texted my mom," said Kaylee Helton.
Kaylee took a screenshot of the post and saved it. Once you save a photo on SnapChat, it alerts the person who posted it.
"So he SnapChatted me and asked me why I screenshotted his story," said Helton.
That dialogue led to the Sierra Linda student's identity. Kaylee told her principal and a school resource officer, who then alerted Phoenix Police.
It turns out the word spread faster on social media than it did on the actual campus near 67th Avenue and Lower Buckeye.
"Some kid posted he threatened to shoot up our school on SnapChat, some kid in Denver saw it and contacted Phoenix Police, and they found him with guns in his backpack," said Ethan Clay.
The kids didn't find out about the incident until police had already identified and arrested him.
"It's a relief you know, I don't want anything to happen to my school, it's my senior year," said Valeria Hernandez.
One student called Kaylee a hero for reporting the threat.
Kaylee's mother says it took a lot of courage for her daughter to come forward and do the right thing.
"This isn't something that even if it's supposed to be funny, it's not funny, especially in Colorado," said Jackie Helton.
Phoenix Police say the student admitted he was behind the post, but told them it was a prank. He's now facing one count of creating a hoax, which is a class 4 felony.