A 16-year-old has been arrested for allegedly posting a threat to Facebook that he was going to bring a gun to Cheney High School and "things were going to go 'boom boom.'"
The juvenile, who no longer attends the school, was arrested early Friday morning at a residence in Spokane Valley and booked on a single charge of harassment at the juvenile detention center.
According to an affidavit of probable cause in the case, the Cheney Police Department reports a witness came forward Thursday and said her daughter, who attends Cheney High School, was alerted by friends over the phone that the juvenile had made an online threat and was fearful of going to school Friday.
The mother added that with the recent rash of shootings at public locations -- schools, theaters, malls -- she believed this was "a creditable [sic] threat to kill students."
A second witness, a student at Cheney High School, was able to get a screen capture of the threat made by the juvenile, which showed him posing with a handgun. In the comments under the photo the witness said the juvenile made the comment he would make things go "boom boom" at the school.
"We had some students who saw information on social media that concerned them, made them feel like there was a safety issue. They spoke to their parents, their parents contacted the Cheney Police Department and the Cheney Police Department contacted us," Cheney School District Assistant Superintendent Sean Dotson said.
Based on the Facebook posting, as well as witness testimony, Spokane Valley Police took the juvenile into custody and took him to the juvenile detention center to be booked on the harassment charge.
Dotson said parents and students can expect a rapid response anytime someone starts talking about on campus violence.
"When we receive that type of information, we can find out later if there really is a true concern, but in the moment we have to act fast to support kids and make sure they are safe," he said.
After his arrest early this morning the suspect told police the pistol in the photo was actually just a BB gun. Police did not find a gun and the student denied threatening anyone.
In court Friday, the 10th grader's defense attorney explained that his client did take the pistol picture but that a friend was the person who actually posted the threat. The dean of students at the teen's current school vouched for his good grades and character.