Juveniles detained after show of force and investigations by sheriff and police departments
■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
Last Thursday, The Valley Chronicle reported on a warning scrawled on the walls of a Hemet High School bathroom, claiming that a student would “shoot up” the school.
“Hemet High will be shot up on 2-28-18 by a sophomore girl the first on my list is Dr. Shaws b**** a** don’t be in my way,” was the disturbing message written in a girls’ bathroom stall, first discovered Tuesday, Feb. 27.
A student photographed the eerie marker-scribed threat, which was soon shared across social media by fellow students and concerned parents. Many of those parents kept their children home from school Wednesday.
“After investigating the threat, we did not believe it was credible,” responded Captain Leonard Purvis of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station. “Out of an abundance of caution, we provided extra law enforcement personnel at Hemet High School [Feb. 28].”
Dr. Emily Shaw, school principal who was directly called out in the written threat, added, “a K-9 with an explosives (firearms) detection dog was on site as well. School was open, and we were running business as usual. We are thankful for the support of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department during this time.”
Later that night, a press release from Riverside County Sheriff confirmed that a suspect had been apprehended.
“An investigation ensued, and it was discovered a 16-year-old female Hemet High School student authored the threat. A search warrant was written and served at the student’s residence. The suspect was ultimately booked into the Riverside County Juvenile Detention Center for making the threat.”
That same afternoon, a similar threat was discovered on the bathroom wall of West Valley High School, this time written on five individual wall tiles.
“Wvhs will be shot up on Friday so watch out.” Another tile read “no one can stop us this is 100% real,” followed by “The office is going down first we are strongly armed with AR’s,” and “a lot will die.” The fifth tile was marked with the offender’s apparent signature, “-Silent.”
HPD were at WVHS Friday morning, checking students’ bags and having several officers and patrol vehicles on site, similar to the response by Sheriff the day before at HHS. Hemet Police employed K-9s to search the area. Additionally, HPD set up a patrol ring around the school, the surrounding neighborhoods, and around Walmart. Friday was considered West Valley’s “Senior Ditch Day” by its students, so many of the 12th graders had already planned not to attend class that day anyway. UPDATE: Monday, March 5, Hemet police detectives arrested a WVHS student for criminal threats. Detectives also found the threat “not credible.”
A third threat with similarities to the other two in regards to Diamond Valley Middle School, was also reported last Wednesday.
“At about 1:11 p.m., the Hemet Police Department received a 911 call wherein the caller advised her sister was at Diamond Valley Middle School and shots were being fired,” said a press release by Hemet Police Department. “The caller said that her sister was crying and she heard two gunshots. Officers from the Hemet Police Department immediately responded to the scene and entered the school. Site administrators placed the school on lock-down, which is common for incidents such as this, as officers entered the school. Within minutes the 7th grade sister was located as other officers cleared the school. It was determined that the 7th grader was out in a back field area of school and told investigators what she heard, ‘sounded kinda far away.’ The area was cleared and no evidence of any shooting was found.”
Just two days later, March 2, Diamond Valley Middle School encountered yet another violent incident.
“A 16-year-old Hemet youth made threats today directly to a school staff member. At about 12:30 [March 2], a school supervisor was contacted by a 16-year-old who was just outside the fence at the Diamond Valley Middle School. The school was in session and several students were in the area. The youth, who will not be identified due to his/her age, told the supervisor he/she was going to ‘Shoot up the School’ and then made a hand gesture simulating shooting a handgun.
“The school supervisor immediately notified the on-site Hemet Police School Resource Officer via radio. The officer contacted the youth within seconds and detained him/her without incident. The teen was found to be unarmed.
Following an investigation, the 16-year-old was arrested for criminal threats and transported to Riverside County Juvenile Hall. In accordance with established Riverside County Protocols, the Department of Child Protective Services and County Probation were notified of the incident. The parents and/or guardians of the teen were contacted and are cooperating with investigators.”
On Saturday, Hemet Unified School District issued the following statement:
“It has been a challenging week for the Hemet community. We want to take a moment to thank our students, staff, and community for reporting suspicious behavior and comments to administrators and law enforcement. We would also like to take a minute to thank Hemet Sheriff’s Station and Hemet Police Department for ensuring the safety of our students and staff. We cannot fully express the gratitude we have for their hard work.”