Apparent ‘Practical Joke’ Threat Posted to Social Media Leads to Arrest of Another Santa Clarita Valley Teen
For the second straight day, a Santa Clarita Valley teenager has been arrested in connection with an alleged threat that was posted online, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The latest incident was reported to authorities Sunday night, a news release from the department stated.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station received a call around 8 p.m. that another possible threat had been posted on an Instagram account. The call came hours after a 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of posting death threats to social media against area high school students.
In the new incident, deputies discovered that a single Instagram post showed a screenshot of a text between a Canyon High School student and an unknown person that included comments about school violence, according to the department.
Investigators learned that the student received a text from an unknown person and began messaging back and forth with them. Instead of alerting authorities, the student posted a screenshot of the conversation to his Instagram account.
As the investigation continued, detectives discovered that the unknown texter allegedly used an application that allowed him to send free text messages online. That information was used to identify the alleged sender, a 13-year-old Canyon High School student who was apparently friends with the other student.
“Based on statements made by the suspect… it appears he sent the text messages to get a reaction from his friend and as a practical joke,” the release stated. “The suspect realized too late that the threats were being taken seriously, and his friend had posted them on Instagram.”
The teen was taken into custody and would be released to the county Probation Department, according to the release.
The incident occurred as the area was already on edge due to a series of alleged death threats that had also been posted to Instagram the previous day.
Starting Saturday night, dozens of people had called the station to report the online threats, which contained images of guns and dead bodies, and threatened violence against students, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Lt. Tom Bryski told KTLA.
The student who was arrested in that case had no weapons and apparently had no plans to carry out the attack, the Sheriff’s Department said after the 15-year-old was taken into custody.
The two incidents were not related, according to the department.