LA teen arrested following Instagram threats of attacks against area high schools
By Victoria Cavaliere
(Reuters) – A 15-year-old California boy was arrested Sunday in connection with threats of attacks against high schools near Los Angeles posted on social media, law enforcement officials said.
The teen, who was not identified, was taken into custody at his home in the Santa Clarita Valley, about 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, less than a day after the threats were posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Dozens of worried residents had informed law enforcement about the posts, which promised a “huge” shooting at local high schools in the region, the sheriff’s office said.
The posts, which have since been deleted, also included photos of guns, dead bodies and threats against women and minorities, Lieutenant Brenda Cambra of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Sunday.
“This is a crime. It’s a felony to put criminal threats on social media,” she said.
One post read, “We are aiming our guns mostly at high school students … Blood will be shed and families will suffer,” according to local station KTLA.
The teen did not appear to have an actual plan and no weapons were found when he was arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.
The photos of firearms posted on Instagram were stock images, officials said.
It was unclear what charges the teen would face and whether he had an attorney.
The William S. Hart Union School District, located in Santa Clarita, said in a statement on Sunday it was aware of the threats and working with local law enforcement.
“We wanted to communicate the threat to our families and then continue to keep in touch until resolution of this issue, which we now have with this arrest,” a statement on Facebook said.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Cynthia Osterman)