Police arrested a 16-year-old former Skyline High School student at his home in Edmonds Tuesday morning for allegedly threatening to bring a semi-automatic weapon to the school and shoot students in the commons, after receiving tips from Skyline students.
"I want to thank our public for coming forward and to our detectives," with tips that led to the arrest, Sammamish Police Chief Nate Elledge told reporters at a press conference at Sammamish City Hall.
The threat was so specific and caused a lot of fear in the community, and also led to 270 tips from around the country. On serving the search warrant, Elledge said the suspect was not surprised to see authorities show up at his home. Police seized computers, which appear to contain evidence that links the teen to the threat, but there were no weapons found in the home.
Ultimately, though, despite the online nature of the threat, it was relationships, not information on the Internet, that resulted in the arrest, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan said.
"At the end of the day, this was solved through relationships; students knew this was not right, they trusted our resource officer Alana Hall," Strachan said.
Hall said she remembers the student, who attended Skyline between the fall of 2010 and November of 2011, as a young man who made some poor choices.
Lisa Hechtman, principal of the Sammamish high school, said the news of the arrest was met with cheers by the student body earlier Tuesday. She said she does not believe bullying is the reason for the threat.
"The suspect wanted to threaten us," she said, but instead, "he unwittingly created a solidarity."
All expressed thanks to the students, parents, and police who came together to provide additional security at the school and to share information.
"This brings closure to us, and highlights the level of concern for students' safety," Hechtman said.
Strachan said this case sends a clear message that threats such as this will not be tolerated. "The message here today is this is not a teenage prank, this is not a joke. Don't mess with the safety of our kids."
Police are looking into whether this suspect could be connected to a similar threat made at Meadowdale High School in the Edmonds School District last April.
For all of Patch's coverage of the incident, see our topic page here.