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Former student arrested in Skyline shooting threat
Nearly two weeks after a threat of mass shooting violence was made against Skyline High School and its students, police arrested a 16-year-old male suspect.
Detectives with the Sammamish Police Department arrested the former Skyline student in Edmonds around 7 a.m., Tuesday on charges of harassment and cyberstalking related to a Sept. 19 posting made on the social media site 4chan.
"It's very interesting that this threat was made through technology ... but at the end of the day, this was solved by relationships," said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan, noting that several students came forward to Skyline resource officer Alana Hall with crucial information that led to the suspect.
The online threat, which was made late in the evening of Sept. 19, specifically targeted "jocks" and "students who "use their wealth and social status to act superior to others." The 16-year-old suspect allegedly made threats of entering the commons area and opening fire with a submachine gun until he ran out of ammo or was killed by police.
Skyline was shut down the following day as a safety precaution.
"While the suspect wanted to threaten and intimidate all of us, he unwittingly provided a gift of solidarity and resiliency to our community," Skyline principal Lisa Hechtman said.
Police, who obtained numerous tips from different students, admittedly ran into a dead end after both King County detectives and the FBI traced the threats to a proxy server in Sweden.
They fully credit Skyline students for being able to track down the suspect.
"We want them to feel comfortable sharing that kind of information with us and knowing they're going to be safe and not going to have any kind of retaliation," Hall said.
Detectives first served a warrant on the boy's home last week. They seized three computers and two cell phones, finding direct links to the threats, including the photo of the gun that was posted on the social media site. Police didn't recover any weapons in the home and believe the photo was obtained from a site similar to eBay based out of the Philippines.
Evidence relating to a similar threat at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood last April was also found on the computers. Police are investigating to see if the threats are related to the same suspect.
The boy was booked at the King County Youth Services Center. Detectives expect to forward the case to the King County Prosecutor’s Office tomorrow, Oct. 3. The penalty for a Class C felony holds a maximum $10,000 fine or a five years in prison.
While there is no known motive for the threat, police warn that even in cases of bullying, students should never resort to making threats.
"I think I can speak on behalf of parents, staff and the King County Sheriffs office when I say don't mess with the safety of our kids, we take it very, very seriously," Strachan said. "The fact is this kind of threat will not be tolerated now or in the future."