Teen arrested for making alleged threats against Liberty High School

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Peoria Unified School District) (Source: Peoria Unified School District)
PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Peoria police have arrested a teenage boy for allegedly making threats against Liberty High School.

The 16-year-old suspect, a sophomore at Liberty, reportedly posted the threats on social media.

A photo reportedly showed him posing with a gun. Police tell us "the weapon in the photo turned out to be a pellet gun and no real weapons were located in the home and it is not believed that he had access to any real weapons."

The threats were reported to the Peoria Police Department on Tuesday evening, and the teen was arrested just after midnight.

The student maintains the alleged threats were "a joke," according to Peoria police news release.

But this kind of incident is no laughing matter to authorities.

"These matters are extremely serious in nature, cause fear and disruption of an educational institution, and are not tolerated by the Peoria Unified School District or the Peoria Police Department," reads the police news release.

The teen suspect has been booked into the Durango Juvenile Detention Center. He faces several charges including committing a hoax and interfering with an educational institution by making a threat to injure others. These charges are preliminary and additional charges may be added or amended. 

Police also said they were made aware of a second, unrelated threat that was written on a bathroom stall wall referencing the date of March 30. That incident was also circulated on social media.

However, police said that they deemed that "threat" not to be credible.

The Peoria Police Department stresses the need for parents and guardians to have a discussion with their students regarding the severity of posting and sharing this type of information.  

Police also want to caution parents and guardians to not share these posts on social media but instead contact police. If anyone has any additional information regarding this incident they are encouraged to contact the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-8311.  

Liberty High School is located in the northwest Valley, near 91st Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road.

Below is the letter that was sent to all parents regarding the Liberty High School incidents:

Dear Liberty Parents & Guardians -  

This letter is to make you aware of two separate incidents involving our campus. Early this morning, a student was taken into police custody after Snapchatting a threat against our campus. We appreciate the quick response by the Peoria Police Department.

In addition, we are aware of a threat towards our school scribbled on a bathroom wall dated for March 30. The Peoria Police Department has been notified and investigated this incident. We have heard several rumors about this on social media with a wide variation of dates and incorrect information. Additionally, we have not found any other factual information regarding this threat. It is important to note that we do not believe this is a credible threat and do not feel our campus is in any real danger.

Each time we share threat-related information with you, we reiterate that the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. This remains unwavering and to that end, we will not tolerate direct threats, or social media threats meant to be a hoax, against our school. A threat against the educational environment is a violation of state law and those found responsible will be prosecuted. We appreciate the support of local law enforcement, students, parents and our community for working with us to ensure that our campus remains safe. We also appreciate your assistance in ensuring these rumors do not spread further so that we can continue to remain focused on what we do best – educating students.                               

Thank you for your understanding and support.

John Croteau

Principal

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