East High Student Accused of School Threat
Online gamers say juvenile mentioned school shooting
ANCHORAGE - It was one week since a gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary, massacring 20 kids and six educators.
Police say the teen was playing online Thursday with two people from out of state. One of those gamers told his parents about the possible threat. The parents then called the East High principal.
Police say all threats should and will be taken seriously and fully investigated – which Thursday’s threat was.
An East High student KTVA spoke with Friday said there were many police officers around Thursday, but the school never went into lockdown mode.
“I was commanding out flag detail,” said junior Mark Stoorza. “We bring the national colors out for our JROTC and there was a few cops. [It was] unusual.”
The 17-year-old said he always feels safe in his schools hallways and classrooms.
“We have two police officers,” said Stoorza. “One is a good friend and we have a lot of teachers who act like security guards. They really watch out for us, my teachers especially. They always watch out and make sure we are having a good week and really do care for us.”
He said that all students know to tell teachers or security personnel if they feel threatened. Stoorza, as well as his mother, said they feel very safe at East High and confident in the school's security system – so they were shocked when they got an automated phone call from East High School Friday morning.
“Yesterday we received information regarding a safety threat at our school,” Principal Michael Graham said. “An East High student had told another student about potential shooting at our school. Although no specific threat was made, the student gave the information to a trusted adult. When the school received the message we took the information very seriously and immediately involved our school resource officers.”
APD said those steps are the exact steps the community should take in that type of situation. Sergeant Aaron Whitt said they can only act if you report.
“In this day in age it is critical that citizens within our community, if they see or hear something, that they say something,” said Whitt.
School officials and APD said that last weeks school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown Connecticut, has brought school safety to the forefront.
“Within the communities around the nation I think we are all talking about the tragic event that took place in Connecticut,” said Whitt. “Ultimately, I hope the conversations we are having about those are in a productive manner and trying to figure out a way to avoid these things.”
The teen behind the threat, whose name police are not releasing is being held at the McLaughlin juvenile detention center, charged with “terroristic threatening.”
He has been suspended from East High and could be expelled.