Students arrested for separate threats at 2 LA-area schools
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deputies arrested a 13-year-old boy and seized a semi-automatic rifle after he threatened to shoot other students and staff at a Los Angeles-area middle school, authorities said Friday.
In a separate case, a boy at another school was taken into custody involving a planned shooting.
The arrests came barely a week after deputies were frantically summoned to a high school in Santa Clarita, where a 16-year-old boy killed two fellow students and took his own life.
Since then, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has investigated at least 30 school threats, spokesman Sgt. Bob Boese said.
The incidents that resulted in the arrests were the only ones deemed credible.
At Animo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School in Willowbrook, just south of downtown Los Angeles, multiple students overheard the 13-year-old say Thursday that he would carry out the shooting on campus the following day, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
The students alerted teachers and police were notified.
Deputies searched the boy’s home and discovered an AR-15-style rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition, a list of names and a drawing of the school, Villanueva said.
The boy was arrested without incident on suspicion of making criminal threats. A 19-year-old male relative also was arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm, Boese said. The man, who was not identified, was held on $35,000 bail, he said.
Investigators were trying to determine who owns the gun that authorities initially called a ghost gun — a weapon without a serial number made from parts from other guns. Villanueva later clarified the weapon has a serial number.
Villanueva praised school officials for quickly notifying authorities about the threat.
“The fact that people stepped forward and said what they had heard led us to prevent a tragedy today,” he said.
The other boy was arrested Thursday in Palmdale, north of Los Angeles. Villanueva said the student at Knight High School made threats on social media following a campus fight.
The sheriff said the boy acknowledged posting threats along with pictures of a teen with a gun. No weapon was recovered in the case.
The sheriff’s department still hasn’t determined a motive for the deadly Nov. 14 shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.
Villanueva said the semi-automatic pistol used by gunman Nathaniel Berhow was assembled from gun parts and did not have a serial number. Police have not determined where and when Berhow got the gun.
Associated Press reporters Brian Melley and Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles contributed to this report.