Less than one week after a horrifying mass shooting that killed 10 at a community college in Oregon, a high school in Idaho may have narrowly averted a similar tragedy, arresting a 15-year-old student who posted frightening online threats to carry out a mass shooting at the school — a student who, though he has not been named publicly by police, reportedly had a history harassing other students via social media posts.
The incident caused police in Pocatello, Idaho, to place Highland High School there on lockdown for much of Wednesday, until the teen was identified and taken into custody. The school was able to resume normal operation on Thursday.
Another student at Highland High School described the teen accused of making the violent and disturbing mass shooting threats as “having attention problems.”
The incident apparently began with a Facebook post that included a screen shot of what appeared to be a text message conversation on a smartphone. The text messages contained threats by one of the participants, apparently a high school student, to “bring a gun to school and kill all the girls.”
The student in the text message went on to detail how he planned to carry out the school shooting.
“I’ve got this figured out,” he wrote. “I will start in upper b hall, work to lower b halls. I will then so the attendance office c hall. Then e building enter the back the other c hall then finish in the weight rooms.”
The other teen in the bizarre and chilling text exchange seemed to know the motivation of the threatened shooter, replying, “Over freaking nudes? Dude.”
Interviewed by KPVI-TV in Pocatello, another student, Isaac Gomez, explained that the student making the threats was angry that school cheerleaders would not share nude pictures of themselves with him.
“Some kid who was having attention problems with some of the like, specifically some of the cheerleaders, didn’t get, like, nudes,” Gomez said. “He was asking for some inappropriate things.”
In the text messages, the teen wrote of his anger at the girls’ refusal to show him nude pictures of themselves.
“Because no one will give any to me,” he wrote. “Everyone hates me. and I hate [name obscured]. Also I will kill myself after. I hope everyone has a will written.”
In other text messages attributed to the teen, he claimed to own “a 12 gauge shotgun and 9mm pistol I will bring and start killing everyone.”
Pocatello/Chubbuck School District No. 25 public relations specialist Shelley Allen said that the school will “always overprotect” in cases where potential threats are made against district schools.
Whether or not the student actually owned the firearms claimed in the text message exchange, or if they have determined whether he intended to carry out the threats of violence, has not been confirmed by police in Pocatello.
But according to a report in the Idaho State Journal newspaper, the same 15-year-old boy used his Twitter account to harass numerous Highland High School students, most of them girls.
In another tweet, the teen made threats of violence against United States President Barack Obama, and yet another of his objectionable Twitter posts contained racist language referring to African-Americans.
School officials said that the school also received an anonymous phone call on Wednesday as well, but would not say what the content of that phone call might have been.
During the Highland High School lockdown, all classroom doors were locked and access in and out of the building was restricted to one set of doors only. The teen suspect was charged with one count of telephone harassment, and one count of making a violent threat against a school. He is being held in a juvenile detention center in the area.
[Images: KIPV, KIDK Screen Captures]