Chesterton Tribune



Porter County Police trace 'Washington HS' school threat to Washington state

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A Snapchat screenshot of a teenage boy holding a gun and threatening students and staff at a “Washington High School” caused the Porter County Sheriff’s Police several hours of grave concern late Monday afternoon, after the screenshot popped up on a county resident’s Facebook feed.

PCSP detectives subsequently determined that the screenshot originated in Tacoma, Wash., and that no local school had been threatened.

According to police, around 3:30 p.m. Monday the PCSP’s received a message on its Facebook page from a citizen who’d seen the Snapchat screenshot on Facebook. The message at the bottom of the screenshot: “Don’t come to school tomorrow.” The message accompanying the post on Facebook: “Everyone who goes to Washington High School.”

“There were obvious concerns locally, not knowing if this threat was in regards to Washington Township High School,” PCSP Sgt. Jamie Erow said. “Our detectives worked quickly to ascertain information on the threat and a suspect.”

In under three hours, investigators succeeded in tracing the original Snapchat screenshot to a 15-year-old boy in Tacoma, Wash., and the original Facebook post to a 16-year-old girl there. The Pierce County, Wash., Sheriff’s Department, and the local Washington HS School Resource Officer both confirmed that the boy in the screenshot “was their kid,” who “did not pose any threats to our local kids in Indiana,” Erow said.

“They further informed our detectives that they have been inundated with phone calls from across the country in reference to this case and this juvenile,” Erow added.

Both the boy and the girl were taken into custody earlier on Monday, Erow said.

“We thank the concerned citizen who shared this with us, allowing us to quickly eliminate any threat in our area,” Erow noted. “The East Porter County Schools Superintendent has been notified as well as the School Resource Officer. This incident was resolved in a matter of two and a half hours from the time we received the message to confirmation with Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Detectives.”




Posted 3/7/2017




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