SW Wash. schools reopening after arrest in threats

AP News
Posted: Sep 12, 2013 2:47 AM

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (AP) — Police say a 13-year-old boy did not have the means to carry out the violent threats that kept nearly 4,300 students home for a day after six southwest Washington schools canceled classes.

The boy accused of threatening to "shoot up" and "blow up" his middle school, shoot a teacher and kill himself was arrested Wednesday.

The schools told students to report to classes on Thursday.

The student, who has been enrolled at Chief Umtuch Middle School in Battle Ground, was interviewed by detectives and arrested, then released to his parents, who were cooperating with the investigation, Battle Ground police Lt. Roy Butler said in a telephone interview.

Police seized the boy's computer.

There was no evidence anyone else was involved in the threats, the lieutenant said.

Butler did not identify the boy and declined to speculate on his motive.

In an initial email sent Tuesday, the boy threatened suicide, Butler said.

In a subsequent email, "he threatened to shoot up the school, blow up the school and shoot a teacher," the officer said, adding he did not know why a specific male teacher was named in the threat.

The boy described how he planned to kill himself, but the officer declined to discuss those details. Police inferred that the student planned to commit suicide at the school, Butler said.

The FBI and Vancouver, Wash., police provided information that led Battle Ground detectives to the boy. Without discussing specifics, Butler said the agencies were "very useful."

Police said their investigation will be forwarded to the Clark County juvenile prosecutor with a recommendation for charges of felony harassment.

Butler said he was not aware of any previous issues with the boy.

Parents should not be concerned about sending their children back to school, the lieutenant said.

Chief Umtuch was closed Wednesday, as were four other schools on the same campus. All five were scheduled to reopen Thursday, school district spokesman Gregg Herrington said.

Officers inspected the five public schools and nothing suspicious was found, Butler said.

The closures affected about 3,850 of the district's nearly 13,000 students. Another 400 students in preschool through high school grades were affected at the nearby, private Firm Foundation Christian School, which closed as a precaution.

The private school also planned to reopen Thursday, a spokesman said.

Battle Ground is part of the Portland, Ore.-Vancouver, Wash., metro area. It has a population of about 18,000.