2 youths arrested amid threats to 2 Oregon high schools
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A high school in Oregon was placed on lockdown and a juvenile was arrested Friday after police were alerted to a threat on social media, and another youth remained in custody after allegedly threatening to shoot students at a high school in another part of the state.
The cases have emerged in the wake of the Feb. 14 high school shooting in Florida in which authorities failed to heed warnings that the 19-year-old alleged shooter was a menace. Law enforcement, school officials and students around the country appear to be hyper-vigilant about threats.
A district attorney in Bend, Oregon, applauded a student for calling 911 after becoming aware of threats on social media. Police immediately investigated Wednesday night and arrested a 16-year-old boy.
“Our students are safe because of this swift and certain response,” said Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.
Police in Gervais, a town between Portland and Salem, went to the high school there Friday afternoon after being notified of a threat. The school was put on lockdown and police arrested a youth at his home. After the lockdown was lifted, Marion County sheriff’s deputies stood guard as students boarded buses and walked home.
Bend police said the threats there were to shoot several unspecified students at Bend Senior High School. Investigating officers went to the suspect’s home Wednesday night, determined that he intended to harm students and took him into custody, the police said in a statement. Guns were found in the home but they weren’t accessible to the youth.
The 16-year-old was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation and then put into a Deschutes County juvenile detention facility on a charge of disorderly conduct, police said in a statement.
Hummel, the district attorney, said that while the case is pending, his office will oppose the youth’s release from custody. If he is convicted, prosecutors will ask for “the length of detention we believe is necessary to ensure community safety,” Hummel said in an email.
A court appearance is scheduled for March 1.
School Superintendent Shay Mikalson said in an email to parents he was “deeply troubled” by the youth’s behavior, the Bend Bulletin reported . Mikalson said the school district and Bend police have investigated four threats of school violence in nine days, but this was the only one deemed credible.
A threat was made against a middle school in the former timber town of Roseburg, TV station KEZI reported. Police didn’t consider the threat credible but arrested a 13-year-old student Friday and want people to know they don’t take threats lightly, the station reported.
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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com