Update: Yesterday, we told you about two incidents involving teenage girls and alleged threats against schools — one at Mountain Vista High School in Douglas County in which two sixteen-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, the second related to a thirteen-year-old student at Mt. Garfield Middle School in Mesa County said to have made gun-related statements on social media. See our previous coverage below.
Now, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the thirteen-year-old, as well as an affidavit in the case, which reveals the details behind a chilling statement: "I'm gonna go shoot up the school now."
The MCSO justifies revealing the suspect's identity by referencing a Colorado statute that says a juvenile suspect can be named if he or she is "subject to a revocation of probation for committing the crime of possession of a handgun by a juvenile or for committing an act that would constitute a class 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony or would constitute any crime that involves the use or possession of a weapon if such act were committed by an adult."
Nonetheless, we've decided not to share the suspect's name owing to her youth and the lack of adult charges against her at this writing — and while this post refers to the affidavit, we're choosing not to publish it, because it reveals her identity and her home address.
The affidavit's timeline begins at just shy of 3 p.m. on December 14, when a Mt. Garfield assistant principal told a school resource officer about reports of a Facebook post by the suspect that showed a gun and left another student concerned that she might "shoot up the school."
That student subsequently told the officer that she'd seen a photo on the girl's Facebook page showing her backpack with a handgun on top of it and a caption that read, "I have a gun in my backpack."
Also included: a gun emoji.
Then, during a seventh-period class that day, the student saw the suspect walking around the room with a jacket draped over her left arm in a way that made her fear the girl was concealing a gun. Then, as she walked out of the classroom, the suspect allegedly said, "I'm gonna go shoot up the school now."
That statement, along with the earlier Facebook post, prompted the student to report the matter.
A search was subsequently conducted at the girl's home, where no gun was found. The suspect later told the officer that she'd taken the photo of the gun at her dad's house, and while she initially claimed to have brought it to school with her, she "later stated she did not have the gun at school." She did confirm, though, that she said "I'm gonna go shoot up the school."
The girl is currently being held at the Grand Mesa Youth Detention Facility without bond. Students who have information about the case and haven't already spoken to authorities are encouraged to contact Sergeamt Wayne Weyler, at 970-244-3356.
Continue for our original post.
Original post, 8:12 a.m. December 16: In the more than sixteen years since the April 1999 attack at Columbine High School, folks in Colorado have seen numerous instances of teen boys being arrested for alleged school threats and violent plots.
There have been far fewer instances of teen girls being implicated in such schemes.
So it's highly unusual for two separate incidents involving underage females to take place within days of each other.
One, involving Mountain Vista High School in Douglas County, led to the arrest of two sixteen-year-old girls for what authorities describe as a "credible threat." They're being held on suspicion of charges that include conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
The other took place at Mt. Garfield Middle School in Mesa County, on Colorado's Western Slope. In that matter, a thirteen-year-old girl was busted over threatening Facebook posts that included a photo of a handgun.
Mountain Vista is coordinating its responses to the arrests of the students there with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Douglas County School District.
The three entities are saying only that the threat in question originated on Saturday, December 12 and was deemed credible.
The unidentified sixteen-year-olds were subsequently taken into custody and housed in what the DCSO describes as "secured facilities," with "pending charge(s)" including "conspiracy to commit first degree murder."
At this point, the DCSO adds, "we believe the situation has been contained and the threat disrupted." Those with information are encouraged to contact the sheriff's office at 303-660-7500.
The Mesa County Sheriff's Office, tasked with investigating the Mt. Garfield Middle School case, offers a few more details than do their colleagues in Douglas County.
The MCSO notes that students contacted school administrators Monday, December 14, about "posts on Facebook related to this female student having a handgun and threatening to use it on school grounds."
After "consent searches and interviews" were conducted, the thirteen-year-old girl was arrested. Potential charges against her reportedly include felony menacing, harassment and interference with students at a school.
Like the pair in DougCo, her name isn't being released owing to her age. In the meantime, the image of the handgun has been taken down from Facebook — but the weapon pictured in it has yet to be located.
"The students who reported this dangerous behavior should be commended for coming forward about the social media posts related to their school," the MCSO stresses. "Law enforcement, working in tangent with School District 51 officials were able to investigate swiftly and deter the threatening incident."
That's good news — but the alleged actions of the suspects suggest that it's out-of-date to assume only boys are capable of such behavior.
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