Police in Baldwin Park said that they arrested a high school student on Tuesday for making several threats of violence against his own school on May 25, the day after the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
According to the Baldwin Park Police Department, the student made his first threat via email on May 25, alleging that he had planted explosive devices on the Sierra Vista High School campus that would detonate once classes had concluded for the day. Authorities responded to the threat with canine search teams at the high school; they extended their search to Sierra Vista Middle School, which is within walking distance of the high school. No devices were found or detonated.
The student had also made prior threats to the school, which were received by staff on May 31, police said in the statement. With technical assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they were soon able to identify the culprit. Authorities seized evidence from the boy’s home and arrested him on Tuesday.
The threat was ultimately deemed “noncredible,” the Baldwin Park Unified School District told Los Angeles in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. A spokesperson for the Baldwin Park Police Department said the investigation remains ongoing. The school district did not indicate whether charges will be pressed against the juvenile student.
Parents were encouraged by the school to check their children’s backpacks before they left for school Wednesday, as officials planned to check those of each student as they arrived on campus. Sierra Vista High School also announced that it is boosting police presence on campus as a “precautionary measure;” this enhanced security will continue through the remainder of the school year, the school noted.
“The District takes all threats extremely seriously, and with recent events in mind, local law enforcement has and continues to provide increased visibility and presence in and around our school campuses,” the district said in its statement, adding that the community should remain on high alert and report anything suspicious.
Last week, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana also received violent threats that prompted officials to close its campus and cancel all activities through June 3.
“We acknowledge the alarming nature of this message,” the school said in a statement released Tuesday, CBS News reported. “However, we at Mater Dei take all threats made to the school seriously.”
Mater Dei High School said it will transition to online learning for the last week of school for its finals week.
Santa Ana police said that the “credible threat” came from a former employee who has been making disturbing comments about other employees on campus.
“We wouldn’t close the school for several days if this appeared to be a hoax,” Allison Bergeron, Mater Dei’s director of communications, told CBS News. “We are doing this to make sure our kids are safe and law enforcement has enough time to conduct their investigation.”
One Mater Dei parent told NBC Los Angeles, “Any kind of threat like that you should probably shut down the school and maybe get some armed guards.”
Parents, students, and teachers alike have been on edge following the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary last week, in which 19 students and two teachers were murdered and the 18-year-old gunman died. Since the shooting, students and teachers across the nation—including some in Los Angeles—have been staging walkouts as part of ongoing organized protests against gun violence.
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