Two Ketchikan teenagers are in custody, charged with terroristic threatening, after allegedly threatening to be the “next school shooters.”
The Ketchikan Police Department received a tip from a citizen late Saturday night, said Deputy Chief Eric Mattson.
He said the caller reported: “Students that have corresponded electronically and stated that they were going to shoot up a local school.”
Mattson said two boys, ages 13 and 14, were arrested Sunday morning and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. He said the boys were students in the Ketchikan School District.
A news release from the district states that the boys are not currently in Ketchikan. The state does not have a juvenile detention center here, so they likely were taken off-island following their arrest.
Mattson said a specific school building was mentioned as the target, but he declined to say which one. He said the threat was resolved before the start of school on Monday.
Mattson said there was more evidence than just the emails stating their intention. Officers were able to establish probable cause. In this case, he said, that means: “Basically, steps had been made to commit that offense. When we established that probable cause, or what we believe is enough evidence to make an arrest is when we do so.”
Both boys were charged with second-degree terroristic threatening. Because they are juveniles, their identities will not be revealed.
Mattson said officers will be doing walk-throughs of some schools this week.
“We’re not singling out any specific school, but we said we would make our presence (known) around each of the schools, at least within the city,” he said.
Most Ketchikan School District schools are within city limits. The exceptions are Fawn Mountain and Point Higgins elementary schools.
In an email, School Board President Matt Eisenhower said: “I have been briefed on the details of the incident by school officials and feel very confident and proud in the work Ketchikan Police Department in conjunction with School Administrators have done to keep our schools and kids safe. Although disappointed to learn of the threats, we are fortunate to have extremely competent professionals in our community and community members are willing to speak up when they see or hear something wrong.”
This report has been updated throughout.