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Feb. 24, 2024

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Court documents: 14-year-old says he made threats against Spokane schools as joke

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SPOKANE — A 14-year-old boy admitted to making social media threats late last month against Spokane schools, but he said he did so as a joke, according to court documents.

Spokane police received calls shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28 reporting a threat to several Spokane Public Schools, the search warrant documents say. The threat was captured in a screen shot and provided to police.

The threat warned people not to come to Spokane schools Sept. 29, and that “guns,” “knives” and “weapons of destruction” would be brought , documents say. It specifically mentioned three middle schools and three high schools.

“If you do not want to get injured or harmed do not come to school on this date,” the threat read. “There will be no running or hiding we will have all schools surrounded with armed people so the only way to avoid this is staying home and staying inside …”

The FBI told Spokane police it was made aware of the threat from Snapchat and Instagram, and the FBI said it found the Instagram account where the threat originated, according to court records. The agency tracked the Internet provider address associated with the account to a home on the 300 block of East Everett Avenue.

Spokane police officers went to the Everett Avenue address in the early morning hours of Sept. 29 and spoke to four children. Documents indicated their mother was at work.

One of the children, the 14-year-old, told police he was aware of the threatening post on Instagram but denied creating it.

Later that morning, the mother told police that the teen told her he forwarded the threatening message on social media but he did not write it.

The 14-year-old told police around noon Sept. 29 that he created the threat as a joke and to “scam” his friends, but did not intend to follow through on it.

He said he posted the names of schools in Spokane that he knew, again saying it was all part of a joke, documents say. He told police he used a Samsung tablet to create the threat and make the posts to Snapchat and Instagram.

Spokane police Cpl. Nick Briggs, a spokesman for the department, said the incident is under investigation and there have been no arrests.

Spokane Public Schools said in an email to parents and staff at the time that the child involved will face “consequences” for the alleged threats, which caused “substantial, undue anxiety across our community.”

The email did not say what the consequences will be, and Spokane Public Schools could not be reached by phone Wednesday.

Officials deemed the threats not credible, and schools went on as scheduled Sept. 29. Police were present at some schools that morning.

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