Longview police arrested a 14-year-old boy after he sent a threatening Snapchat photo to friends. The teen told police he sent the photo as a joke, but the picture worried a lot of people.
Police said they received hundreds of calls to the dispatch center Monday night from people concerned about a potential threat toward Mark Morris High School. Callers said the photo was sent to people on Snapchat and Facebook.
The photo shows a boy holding what looks like a sub-compact rifle with the caption “Don’t go to school tomorrow (markmorris).” Police said the photo appeared to have been taken by a second person who was holding a pistol.
“I heard about it over Facebook, someone posted it on Snapchat, and it’s kind of scary thinking about it. It could happen,” said one student. “I still don’t feel safe. It could happen at any time.”
Detectives found the teens and learned they were holding replica weapons that fired BBs.
The 14-year old boy who took the photo told police he didn’t want to harm the school, or anyone at school. He said he sent the photo to at least 30 Snapchat friends as a joke.
“It’s not a joking matter. In this day and age, we cannot joke and say, ‘Don’t go to school tomorrow, I have a gun’,” said Longview Police Captain Robert Huhta.
Police arrested him on the charge of threats to bomb or injure at a public school. He was taken to the Cowlitz County Juvenile Detention Center.
The boy shown holding the rifle said he did not know about the threatening caption on the photo, according to police. He is not being charged.
Police said there was no real threat Tuesday, but security at the school was increased as a safety measure. The school district said this serves as an educational opportunity.
“This will be a topic of conversation at school, I’m sure, and will be an opportunity for adults to continue to work with children about what is funny, what is not funny,” said Longview School District Technology and Communications Director Sandy Catt.
Police said both teens and their families are cooperating with the investigation, and both BB guns were being held as evidence.