A second Bowie High School student has been arrested in connection with social media threats Tuesday against the school, prompting hundreds of students to leave campus this week for fear of their safety.
Arlington police announced the arrest of the 15-year-old boy on Twitter on Friday, ending their post with “#WeTakeThisSeriously”.
The teen’s arrest comes two days after a 17-year-old student, Shalaria Jones, was arrested, accused of posting a picture of a gun and “@12 be readie for bowie to hav a schoo shootin” on Twitter.
Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson created the #WeTakeThisSeriously hashtag to capture the Police Department’s serious stance on going after those who make such threats, said Lt. Christopher Cook.
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“We don’t want to have to arrest kids, but in this day and age we live in, we have to take this seriously,” Cook said. “We can’t let people threaten to bomb or shoot up our schools. We just can’t.”
The 15-year-old is accused of posting threats to kik — an instant-messaging app for mobile devices.
“Heard yal were suppoed to have a shooting but since that never happened ill make sure it does,” one of the messages read.
When asked who the person was posting the message, two additional threatening messages were posted:
“None of your business just let Bowie know im coming … if you dont then ill bomb the school … Make sure you tell everyone before i have to kill more people at another school,” they read.
Cook said the threats were posted on a public forum and were later reposted on Twitter and retweeted multiple times.
Investigators tracked down the 15-year-old using subscriber information supplied by Canada-based kik, Cook said. The boy, whose identity was not released, was arrested Friday and handed over to juvenile authorities.
Jones, who turned 17 in October, is considered an adult in the Texas criminal justice system. She faces a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Jones was arrested Wednesday after investigators linked a newly created Twitter account that posted the threat to the 17-year-old’s cellphone.
Jones denied making the threat to police. A search of her phone, however, found evidence that two separate searches had been done for “picture of gun” the affidavits state.
A further analysis of the phone found an image of the same gun used in the threatening tweet and evidence that a posting was made on a newly created Twitter account at the same time the threat was sent out, affidavits state.
‘You’ve got to be careful’
Police say both teens’ threats created panic and chaos. Concerned parents raced to Bowie. About a dozen officers were assigned to the school to provide protection for students.
“When these messages came out, over 200 kids walked out,” Cook said. “It caused a pretty big uproar.”
Because of the disruption of a government building, Cook said investigators are able to seek felony terroristic threat charges against both suspects.
He said police are still actively pursuing the person behind other social media threats aimed at Sam Houston High School.
Cook said that while teens may believe they’re just playing or having fun in making such social media threats, the consequences are serious.
He said the department plans to create two videos to educate all Arlington school district students and parents on the matter.
“You’ve got to be careful on social media,” Cook said. “Even though these weren’t credible threats, Texas law is very clear. If you cause widespread panic and a reaction like this, you can be prosecuted for terrorist threat.”