An Erie teenager is facing charges after threatening to shoot up a school. A 17-year-old was taken into custody this morning after coming to Erie High School with his parents. This, after a picture was posted on social media with serious threats.
Erie Police say around 10 last night they were made aware of a photo. that was posted to Instagram. Police says the picture showed a 17-year-old Erie High School student holding what appeared to be an M-4 assault rifle.
It was determined the gun in the photo. was an airsoft pellet gun, which police confiscated. The picture read, “ready to shoot up the school tomorrow”. Erie Police Chief Don Dacus says a threat they take very seriously. The suspect was brought to the station for questioning, however, Dacus says he refused to cooperate.
Dacus says they notified the District Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Probation because they are the only ones who can authorize detention of a juvenile. He also says they were forced to release the suspect to the custody of his parents last night after those departments refused to detain the suspect last night.
The suspect is a former student at Cathedral Prep. High School. The Police Department made both schools aware of the situation. Dacus says this morning the DA’s Office and Juvenile Probation reconsidered their consideration to detain. The suspect showed up at Erie High this morning with his parents around nine to meet with school administrators, which is when he was taken into custody.
The teen is currently in the detention center and will be charged with juvenile allegation for terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. The school district is saying they notified parents before school today, and the quick work by police and support in the schools today made the situation much better than it could have been.
Superintendent Brian Polito says, “we have a strong support system up there and we have a lot of people out in the halls. We have our support teams that are there to address any issues that come up or any concerns the students may bring.”
Dacus tells us threats are “taken very seriously. This day and age, we don’t have the luxury of assuming anything, so we take everything very serious. This couldn’t come at a worse possible time to pull a stunt like this”.
Police were outside each of the schools this morning for extra security. School is resuming as usual and the threat is clear. The district is saying the investigation on their end is ongoing and they cannot discuss the status of the suspect at this time, but Polito says they are handling the situation.