Woodlan student, 14, arrested after posting school shooting threat he said was a ‘joke’
The school shooting threat incident Thursday at Woodlan Jr.-Sr. High School involved a 14-year-old boy who posted, “I’m shooting up Woodlan” on his Snapchat social media account, resulting in his arrest and panic at the school, a police report said.
The student was arrested on a charge of intimidation and taken to the Allen County Juvenile Center, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department officer who investigated the incident said in his report. The News-Sentinel doesn’t identify juvenile offenders by name.
The sheriff’s officer said he received a report of the threat about 8:20 a.m. Thursday while working at his job as a school resource officer at Woodlan, 17215 Woodburn Road.
The report came from Assistant Principal Denny Kern, who already had the student waiting by his office when the officer arrived there, the report said.
The report alleges the following:
In response to questions by Kern, the student said he has posted the threat on his Snapchat account as a joke but had taken it down.
Kern asked the student if he was aware of the mass shooting last week that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the student said he was aware.
During his first-period class, the student said he had been looking at memes on social media about school shooting and decided to post his threat on his Snapchat account. When asked to explain what he meant by “meme,” the student described it as “a joke to make people mad,” the sheriff’s officer reported.
“Mr. Kern tried to explain to (student’s name redacted) how serious this was, but (student’s name redacted) appeared not to care,” the officer reported.
Kern also asked the student if he had any guns at home, and the student said his family has several guns at home in a locked cabinet. The student said he shoots the guns at home for practice.
However, the student told Kern and the sheriff’s officer he has never thought about shooting up Woodlan, and people who know him would agree he wouldn’t do that.
The sheriff’s officer searched the student for weapons and found none, the report said.
Kern also requested the sheriff’s officer assist with a search of the student’s locker, where they found a package of cigars and a lighter. They also saw writings on the locker door, which the officer photographed for evidence. The report provided to News-Sentinel.com redacted the only specific mention of the wording they saw on the student’s locker door.
The student then was arrested and taken to the Allen County Juvenile Center by Woodburn Police.
The sheriff’s officer reported the incident sparked panic at the school and among worried parents.
“While investigating this incident, the school phone rang nonstop with frantic parents calling trying to pick up their students and trying to make sure the school was aware of the situation,” the officer reported. “We also had students leave the building without notifying anyone due to them being scared to be in the building.”
The officer reported his personal cell phone also rang nonstop with calls from parents concerned about their children’s safety.
The student’s father arrived at Woodlan even before being contacted by the school, the report said. Kern informed him of the situation and that his son had been arrested.
The sheriff’s officer also explained to the father that he must make sure all of the family’s guns and weapons are accounted for and that they are secured and kept away from his son.