This article was originally posted on goerie.com on Oct. 6, 2017 by Tim Hahn and Ed Palatella.
17-year-old boy is in juvenile detention and no one was harmed, police said. Erie High, Cathedral Prep given special police attention on Friday morning.
Erie police have filed terroristic threats and disorderly conduct charges against a 17-year-old Erie High School Student accused of posting a Facebook message on Thursday night in which he said he was “ready to shoot up the school tomorrow.”
The Facebook post also shows a male holding what appears to be an assault rifle, which Erie Police Chief Donald Dacus said is an Air Soft rifle. He said police have the weapon.
Dacus said the teen, an Erie resident who formerly attended Cathedral Preparatory School, is in custody and is being detained at the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Center. He will face criminal charges through Erie County Juvenile Court, Dacus said.
The police and the Erie School District said no one was injured, and that the threat was not specific to a school. Dacus said the police gave Erie High and Cathedral Prep special attention on Friday morning and that no incidents occurred.
Dacus said city police were able to make contact with the teen within an hour of being notified about the Facebook post on Thursday night. Police attempted to interview him, but he refused to talk to officers, Dacus said.
“But the family was very cooperative,” he said.
“Assistance from the public through social media aided us in closing this very quickly,” Dacus said.
The student was not at Erie High on Friday, Erie School District spokeswoman Daria Devlin said. She said she could not comment on student discipline, but said the student’s parents had been called and they were to meet with the principal of Erie High on Friday morning.
Officials at Cathedral Prep do not think the threat was leveled at the school, said Chris Hagerty, director of strategic initiatives, noting that the teen had not been a student there “for quite some time.” Hagerty said the school did notify the families of students about the incident.
“First, I want to assure our families, staff and student that we take incidents like this very seriously,” Polito said in a statement.
“Because the student was currently enrolled at Erie High, we decided to inform families this morning that the police were handling the incident and to reassure them that we were taking all safety precautions.
“We cannot comment on disciplinary action but we believe the matter has been handled appropriately and we will continue to work to ensure the safety of all students and staff.”
Here is the full message that the Erie School District posted on its Facebook page on Friday morning:
“In an effort to keep families informed and reassure them about the safety of their students, the following message is being sent via OneCall this morning to all Erie High families.
“We are calling to provide you with information this morning regarding photos posted last night on social media that included a threat to a school in the area. The student who posted the threat was questioned by the Erie Police Department. The student was formerly enrolled at other area schools but is now an Erie High student, however the threat posted was not specific to Erie High.
“We want to assure you that this matter was taken seriously and has been handled by the Erie Police Department. The safety of our students is always our first priority and we want parents to know that this matter has been investigated and safety precautions have been taken. Our Erie School District police and Erie City police will be providing special attention today to Erie High to help reassure parents, staff and students. Thank you.”