After a student posted on social media about “shooting up” Eaglecrest High School — and after more posts from students who claimed to have seen a gun at the school — the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said today the threat was not valid and that no gun was found.
Screenshots of the threatening Snapchat post were posted on Twitter by users who appeared to be parents on Tuesday.
The post read: “i am shooting up eagle crest highschool tomorrow I am sick and tired of the bulling (sic) and hate everyone do not come to school tomorrow me and my friends will be there waiting for you.”
Authorities were immediately able to identify the student who issued the Snapchat post, said Deputy John Bartmann, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. The Snapchat threat was posted Tuesday.
Eaglecrest sits in the east Centennial area, south of Quincy Avenue and west of the E-470 toll highway.
“When they brought (the student) in and started interviewing him, he ended up eventually admitting that he did it and that he did it not for bullying or anything like that,” Bartmann said, adding that it sounded like the student made the post to show off for friends or other students.
Authorities contacted the student’s parents, and he was taken home. The sheriff’s office released him pending further investigation, Bartmann said.
The student was released because it didn’t appear that the post was serious, according to Bartmann.
“He wasn't doing it to truly do any harm. That was not his intent,” Bartmann said, adding: “If that was the intent, and he had the means and opportunity (to do harm), it would have been a lot different” in terms of how deputies would have handled him.
Deputies found there was no one else involved in the threat, and they spoke with the student’s friends, Bartmann said. Part of the continuing investigation is finding more peers who may have information, he added.
Bartmann said he was not aware of any information indicating the student has made threats in the past, nor of any criminal history or school disciplinary history for the student.
To Bartmann’s knowledge, the student was not back in school that day, he said.
The student involved with the threat has been suspended and has not been back at school, facing further determination of disciplinary action, Abbe Smith, spokesperson for Cherry Creek School District, said on Nov. 16.
The sheriff’s office was also investigating reports of social media posts from students today claiming to have seen a gun at Eaglecrest, according to Bartmann. But it turned out that no one deputies spoke with saw a gun inside of the school.
“It started off with people sending out posts saying that they saw” a gun, Bartmann said.
Deputies worked to find and interview the students who were making those posts, and eventually, students made remarks such as they didn't actually see a gun but saw a picture of it — or “no, someone told me they saw it,” Bartmann said.
He added: “Everybody kind of jumped on board with it and pushed that narrative, unfortunately.”
“Luckily, we were able to grab a hold of these kids as it was happening and start interviewing them super quick,” Bartmann said. He added. “There never was a gun that we could see. So no firearms were found; no picture even was found of it.”
To the sheriff’s office’s knowledge, the students who posted about a gun were not friends of the student who made the threatening Snapchat post on Tuesday.
As of around 4 p.m. today, the sheriff’s office doesn't believe there's any connection between the two cases, Bartmann said.
The sheriff’s office on tweeted earlier in the afternoon that “EHS is NOT on lockdown (and) has NOT been over the two days. Interviews of witnesses are currently ongoing, and there is no danger to the school or the surrounding area.”
The sheriff’s office believes there’s no danger related to the social media posts “because we found there's no validity to the threat,” Bartmann said.
In general, the sheriff’s office has two deputies at every Cherry Creek School District high school that it serves, and it also has two deputies at a Littleton Public Schools high school that it serves, Bartmann said. That includes the three Cherry Creek high schools that the sheriff’s office began handling amid Aurora police staffing issues, Bartmann said.
The high schools where the sheriff's office has deputies each day include Eaglecrest, Grandview, Cherokee Trail and Smoky Hill in the Cherry Creek district, along with Arapahoe High School in the Littleton district, according to Bartmann.
The sheriff’s office has one deputy at every middle school in Littleton and Cherry Creek districts that the sheriff’s office serves.
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