Student Arrested in Shooting Threat Against Middle School in Willowbrook Had Rifle, Ammo: LASD

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A 13-year-old boy accused of threatening to shoot students and staff at a charter middle school in Willowbrook was arrested after being found to have access to a rifle and ammunition, authorities announced Friday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released this photo of the seized firearm at a news conference held on Nov. 22, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released this photo of the seized firearm at a news conference held on Nov. 22, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

Deputies at Century Station were informed Thursday of a shooting threat for the following day against Ánimo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School, located at 12700 Avalon Blvd., according to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Multiple students overheard the threat and alerted teachers, who emailed school administrators about their concerns. School officials then contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which immediately began investigating, Villanueva said at a news conference.

Interviews with students led deputies to a 13-year-old who allegedly made the threat, according to the sheriff. After tracking the boy down, deputies obtained a search warrant for his home.

“During the execution of the search warrant, a rifle with a high-capacity magazine was seized along with ammunition for the rifle,” Villanueva said.

Undersheriff Tim Murakami described the firearm as an AR-15.

In addition, investigators found a hand-drawn map of the school, along with a list containing the names of students and staff who may have been intended victims.

The student was arrested and faces a potential charge of criminal threats, according the sheriff, who did not identify the teen due to his age.

A 19-year-old male relative was also arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm, a news release from the department stated. The man, who has not been identified, was being held on $35,000 bail.

It was not immediately clear who owned the rifle, the sheriff said. An investigation is ongoing.

Villanueva reminded people that if they see or hear something, they should alert authorities, as was the case in this incident.

“The fact that people stepped forward and said what they heard led us to be able to prevent a tragedy today,” he said.

Ánimo Mae Jemison is a Green Dot-operated school chartered within the Los Angeles Unified School District. It has about 530 students in sixth through eighth grade, according to state data.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner released a statement after the the arrest was announced.

“The Sheriff’s Department acted on information provided by the school community about this incident. We all have a responsibility to keep students and all who work in our schools safe, and we are grateful to those who spoke up,” the statement read in part.

The student’s arrest was announced eight days after a 16-year-old boy killed two students and wounded three others before fatally shooting himself at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.

Since the Saugus shooting, the Sheriff’s Department has received tips regarding a a number of threats, according to Villanueva.

Investigators have acted to assess all of the threats, including one against Pete Knight High School in Palmdale on Friday that resulted in an arrest, officials said.


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