TAYLORSVILLE — A 16-year-old boy has been charged with making threats to "shoot up" Taylorsville High School.
The teen, whom the Deseret News has opted not to name, was recently arrested and charged in 3rd District Juvenile Court with making threats of violence, a class B misdemeanor.
The threats were brought to the attention of police thanks to an observant student who not only noticed concerning behavior from the teen, but recorded his actions on a cellphone and brought it to the attention of the school resource officer, according to a search warrant affidavit.
"We always talk about how many security cameras we have in the school, but they don't catch stuff like this," said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley.
Even the most enhanced security system in the world can't substitute for the 1,800 eyes and ears of students, he said.
The anonymous tipster told the school resource officer that the boy had been "looking at weapons on his laptop computer while in class," the affidavit states, and had been making threats for some time to "shoot up the school."
Horsley said the student recorded the boy looking at gun and ammunition websites in class.
"A witness came to (the officer) and told him that they had heard the threats made by (the teen) to shoot up the school, which was verified again when (the teen) admitted to officer Byam to making the threats but claimed that he was only joking around," the warrant states.
In addition, the boy also told the officer he "had been researching school shooting incidents online and decided that they were not the way to solve problems," according to the affidavit.2 comments on this story
A Unified police officer from the Violent Crimes Unit who was asked to assist in the case looked at the teen's Facebook page and "observed a post on his timeline that was posted within the last three months. In this post, there is a picture of a man standing in a gun store with several automatic style rifles in the background hanging on the wall. The caption that had been added said, 'Shopping for school' with a heart on each end," according to the warrant.
Police described the boy as "cooperative and respectful" when he was arrested and said his father agreed to remove his weapon from the house so that his son did not have access to it.
Horsley said the boy was suspended from school and now faces district level discipline through the Safe Schools Committee.