By Jane Beathard firstname.lastname@example.org
January 27, 2014
A 15-year-old Plain City boy remains in custody after threatening to bring a gun to Jonathan Alder High School.
Plain City Police Chief Jim Hill said the boy threatened to bring the gun to school on Monday, Jan. 27, to “kill everyone.”
Hill said the youth, who has a juvenile record, posted the threat on the social network Twitter about 6:47 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26, then removed it a short time later. But another network user had spotted the posting and notified authorities.
A police report does not name the reportee.
“If we have school tomorrow, I’m bringing a gun and killing everyone,” the post threatened.
An officer confronted the boy and his guardian at home in the 200 block of East Main Street at 8:38 p.m.
“The juvenile said it was a joke,” Hill said.
But authorities took no chances.
After conferring with the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office, officers took the youth into custody.
“With current events happening around the country, we’re taking it seriously,” said prosecutor Steve Pronai.
“You can’t take it for granted they won’t (do it),” Hill said.
Hill expressed gratitude to the local resident who saw the Twitter post and alerted police quickly. He encouraged others to follow suit whenever public safety is at stake.
The teen was arraigned at a detention hearing in Madison County Juvenile Court on Monday afternoon. He is charged with a delinquency count of inducing panic.
Judge Glen Hamilton ordered a complete psychiatric and behavioral evaluation of the youth by professionals at the Central Ohio Youth Center (formerly Five-County Juvenile Detention Center) in Marysville.
Pronai said that evaluation could take as long as six weeks.
Hill phoned Jonathan Alder Superintendent Gary Chapman about the incident on Sunday.
He also notified Plain City Mayor Sandra Adkins and members of village council via e-mail.
Twitter has posted guidelines offering assistance and education to parents and community members.
“If something has gone beyond the point of a personal conflict and has turned into credible threats, whether it be online or offline, you should contact your local authorities as they are in the best position to assess the threat and intervene or assist as necessary,” according to the social network’s website.
The social media provider says it does work with law enforcement officials.
“If contacted by law enforcement directly, we can work with them and provide the necessary information for their investigation of your issue. You can point local law enforcement to our Law Enforcement Guidelines,” according to Twitter. “If you feel the issues are legal in nature, please seek advice from a lawyer. Twitter cannot offer any legal advice, nor can we provide other users’ information except as required by valid legal process.”