Police arrest suspect in Skyline High School shooting threat
October 2, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Updated: Oct. 2, 2:07 p.m.
Police arrested a 16-year-old Edmonds boy, a former student at Skyline High School in Sammamish, early Oct. 2 for threatening online to shoot Skyline students.
Investigators seized computers and cellphones from the boy’s home Sept. 25, and discovered digital footprints to link a computer to the Skyline threat. Police did not find evidence of firearms or ammunition in the home.
The boy, a Skyline student from September 2010 until November 2011, faces charges of harassment and cyberstalking — both felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The suspect is in custody at the King County Youth Services Center in Seattle.
King County Sheriff Steve Strachan said the absence of firearms and ammunition did not lessen the gravity of the threat.
“This suspect was arrested because people felt comfortable providing this information to our school resource officer, and because our detectives were relentless and never let up,” Sammamish Police Chief Nate Elledge said.
In the post about Skyline, a still-unidentified online bulletin board user threatened to unleash a Columbine-style attack and shoot students on campus.
Issaquah School District administrators characterized the decision to close the Sammamish school as a precaution, and the school reopened Sept. 21, albeit at a later time and as extra police officers, parent volunteers and counselors greeted students.
Investigators spent the days after the discovery attempting to pinpoint the user behind the threat posted Sept. 19 on the online bulletin board 4chan.
Police traced the post to a proxy server in Sweden — a common technique to mask computer users’ identities — and hit a dead end.
Investigators could not initially verify whether the threat came from a Skyline student or anybody in the area, despite several interviews and a forensic investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.
In the 4chan post, the user outlined plans to take his or her father’s Erma sub-machine gun and “open fire on the people in the commons” until law enforcement officers killed the shooter, or until he or she ran out of ammunition.
The post made a specific reference to “jocks” as “the biggest offender” and also said “the people at that school use their wealth and social status to act superior to others.”
The user also included a photo purporting to show the sub-machine gun, although police later said the image is traceable to a classified advertisement and did not appear to be original.