Investigators Arrest Sender of School Social Media Threat
Investigators and West Valley School District Officials worked together after students report they received a social media threat. This morning, West Valley School Resource Deputy Ed Cashman located and arrested the 13-year-old female suspect.
On February 3, 2020, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to a reported threat made via social media. West Valley City School staff explained three students reported receiving a threatening message, noting Monday, February 10th specifically.
West Valley School Resource Deputy Ed Cashman and West Valley School District Officials, with the assistance of Major Crimes Detectives, continued to investigate this threat.
Through the investigation, Deputy Cashman, after determining the suspect’s identity, learned the 13-year-old female suspect was also one of the three students who initially reported the threat. She was arrested for felony Threats to Bomb or Injure Property and booked into the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center.
Information obtained during the investigation indicates the threat may have been made as part of a dare. At this time, it does not appear there was an actual plan to harm anyone. However, it should be noted, per Washington law (RCW 9.61.160), “It shall not be a defense to any prosecution under this section that the threatened bombing or injury was a hoax.”
As always, the safety of students and staff is the priority for the West Valley School District, Spokane Valley Police Department, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. It is with this strong partnership, coupled with the assistance of students, parents, and staff, we were able to begin an investigation immediately and quickly identify the suspect.
Unfortunately, threats made toward schools have become far too familiar. People engaging in this activity may think they are being funny or have some other excuse for their criminal behavior, but they are actually spreading fear and uncertainty throughout our community and need to be held accountable. Most are made, or widely dispersed, over social media far in advance of them being reported to school staff or law enforcement.
Please take the time to talk with your school-aged children about the need to report threats immediately to you, school staff, or law enforcement. If you see something, say something. We all have the same goal of providing a safe and positive learning environment at our schools. We all must work together to identify potential threats and suspects who commit these crimes, spreading fear in our community.