Police have arrested a third local high school student in connection with a spate of threatened violence this week at Sonoma County schools, part of a recent trend across the state based on social media posts and messages scrawled on school property.
While a second threat was found Tuesday in a Maria Carrillo High School girls’ bathroom, a male student was arrested the same day following a graffiti threat made Monday.
Maria Carrillo High School remained open Wednesday as additional district personnel and police monitored the school for most of the day, according to Vicki Zands, the school’s principal. Zands sent an email to parents earlier in the morning stating that, like the graffiti from Monday in a boys’ bathroom, police did not believe the new threat found Tuesday morning was credible.
The second graffiti read “3/7/18 Don’t Come We Shoot,” Zands wrote in the email to parents. The school and police are working together on the ongoing investigation, though Santa Rosa Sgt. Dave Linscomb said officers have yet to find anything to indicate the threat was valid.
After the first threat Monday, an investigation into the suspected student began immediately, Zands said. After comparing handwriting samples with the graffiti, which read, “Finna shoot up the school 3/4/18,” the teen was searched to verify he didn’t have anything on him that could threaten safety. It was also believed the boy, who wasn’t identified due to his age, didn’t have access to weapons, leading Zands to tell parents in the email that the incident “was clearly done as a ‘prank.’”
The teen was arrested and taken to the county’s juvenile detention facility, Linscomb said. Zands confirmed the student was suspended and is being recommended for expulsion, but unless a threat is seen as “imminent,” the school will not go into a lockdown without police instruction to do so.
“Normally they are the ones to make the decision,” said Zands. “But if it was an imminent threat, like someone with a gun outside, we would make that call.”
Maria Carrillo is at least the fifth school in Sonoma County in less than one week to experience such threats. Threats have cropped up at schools across the country following the Feb. 14 massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
On March 1, Sebastopol police arrested a male student following threats left in a bathroom at Analy High School. The next day a female Piner High School student was arrested, suspected of pulling a campus fire alarm to disrupt school.
Santa Rosa Lt. John Snetsinger said the department continues to monitor the need for more police staffing at schools where needed “during this time of heightened awareness.” In the meantime, a school resource officer remains stationed at each of the city’s five high schools.
No one has been arrested in last week’s threats at Santa Rosa High School or from an incident Tuesday at Willowside Middle School in west Santa Rosa that also included threats written on a bathroom wall. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Willowside case.
Those arrested in connection with the threats face potential charges of making terrorist threats, vandalism and making a false report.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@rossmannreport. Staff Writer Kevin Fixler is available at 707-521-5336 or at email@example.com. On Twitter @kfixler.