Three more Arizona students arrested for threatening to shoot schools
PHOENIX — The number of Arizona students arrested for making threats against their schools has increased in the nearly two weeks since a student allegedly shot and killed 17 people at his former high school in Florida.
A 14-year-old middle school student in northern Arizona was arrested on Monday for “serious disruptive language” at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School in Dewey, the Prescott Valley Police Department said.
Sgt. Jason Kaufman with the department did not specify what the comments were, but said they were immediately investigated after two separate teachers reported them to the school’s main office.
The teenager was booked at the Yavapai County Juvenile Detention on one felony and four misdemeanors.
Navideh Forghani, the spokeswoman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, also said Monday that two students were arrested last week for making threats against the Combs High School in San Tan Valley.
Forghani said another student overheard the two students talk about bringing a gun to school and reported it to officials.
An investigation found that one of the students — a 15-year-old — threatened to file the serial number off of a gun and bring it to school. Another student helped the first student set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for ammunition, since it was “expensive and they needed help to shoot up Combs High School.”
The first student did not have access to weapons, Forghani said, but the second did. Both students have been charged with interference or disruption of an education institution and conspiracy to commit terrorism.
A 20-year-old man was also arrested on Monday for threatening to shoot up a Phoenix high school on social media. More than 1,000 people called police after seeing the threat online.
These incidents are just the latest in what has been a dramatic increase in arrests or investigations into threats made against local schools.
In the week after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was arrested for shooting and killing 17 people — mostly teenage students — at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, three Arizona students were arrested for having a firearm in their possession on campus.
In addition, officials at three different high schools in the state have investigated incidents regarding threats of violence made against the school during that same time period.
A former Arizona State University student was also arrested last week for making threats against people in the university’s athletics program.
A Catholic high school in Phoenix was forced to close its doors and cancel class for a day after officials discovered an alleged threat made against one of the students.
Law enforcement officials are urging students to not only not take action against their school, fellow students or staff members, but to not joke around about the subject at all.
“Please understand that merely saying you intend to bring a weapon to school or harm others is a serious crime, and will be acted upon to the fullest extent possible,” Kaufman said. “Neither the police department nor the school district considers these events to be a simple joke.”