Shooting threats can have big consequences

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A 15-year-old Coeur d'Alene High School student was arrested Tuesday night after other students overheard him talking about a school shooting. (LOREN BENOIT/Press)

The arrest late Monday of a 15-year-old Coeur d'Alene High School student mirrors a national trend.

The student was taken into custody after other students overheard him talking about a school shooting.

The students reported it to parents, who contacted the Coeur d'Alene Police Department. Officers immediately responded, called in detectives and conducted interviews.

Officers contacted the suspect and his family at their residence, where the boy was taken into custody on charges he threatened violence on school grounds, Coeur d'Alene Police said.

Because the suspect is a juvenile, no school or legal consequences can be discussed, Coeur d'Alene Police spokesman Detective Mario Rios said. He said the charge is a misdemeanor.

"Myself, school officials and detectives are still following up with interviews and investigating into this matter further," Rios said.

Rios, Coeur d’Alene High’s school resource officer, said he’s unsure how often such incidents occurr. This is the first time an arrest has been made on such charges since he was assigned to the school in 2017.

"We can assure our community that when these matters come up we act quickly to establish the credibility of the threat. We then make a decision to do what is best for the protection of the students," Rios said.

Coeur d'Alene Police applauded the notification as an example of the "see something, say something" message they’ve been encouraging.

"We are confident this is an isolated incident and there are no other students or individuals associated with these threats and there is no cause for concern of any ongoing threat to the school," a Wednesday news release said.

The incident is one of many schools have dealt with so far this year. Here are just a few recent examples.

• Alexis Wilson, an 18-year-old Oklahoma woman, was arrested with an AK-47 in September after allegedly threatening to shoot "400 people for fun," including people at her former high school, NBC reported. She said she was bullied at school. She was charged with felony terrorist hoax and faces life in prison if convicted.

• Students at a Wake County school in North Carolina missed school or attended under heightened security when a threat of violence was made against the school in October. The threat, which warned students not to come to school the following Friday, was found on the wall of a girls' bathroom.

• A Richland High School student in Washington state was arrested after sharing a school shooting plan with friends in an online chat group. The teen was emergency expelled from school before the arrest was made, according to tri-cityherald.com.

• A seventh-grader in Pennsylvania was detained after allegedly threatening to "shoot up the school," CNN reported. Peers who overheard the threat posted about it on Snapchat.

As of Sept. 1, the U.S. had experienced more mass shootings than days.

"This puts 2019 on pace to be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one mass shooting a day," the report states.

Threats can be reported on the Coeur d'Alene School District website, cdaschools.org.

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