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Teen arrested after allegedly threatening to ‘shoot up’ Mishawaka High School

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 12:30 PM EST
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A 15-year-old has been arrested after allegedly threatening to “shoot up” Mishawaka High School, police say.

“We followed a threat assessment protocol that we have and unfortunately we could not determine if we felt the threat was credible or not,” Superintendent Wayne Barker with School City of Mishawaka says.

The threat was made on YouTube Chat during the School City of Mishawaka school board meeting on Wednesday.

School officials had been planning to move more students to in-person learning on Thursday. Instead, classes were held virtually.

“It is frustrating that we, you know, today was to be the first day at Mishawaka High School for all our students who are choosing to be in-person at least, this would’ve been the first day for them to be there together, Freshman through Senior. So, that’s certainly disappointing that we can’t do that,” Barker says.

Police were posted-up outside Mishawaka High School most of Thursday, possibly in response to the threat. Mishawaka Police released some information on Thursday. Here’s what they say:

“Mishawaka Detectives secured a search warrant for Google concerning the social media post to shoot up the school. Google replied to the search warrant showing the account returned to a 15-year-old juvenile from LaPorte County.”

That 15-year old has been arrested, interviewed by police, and the case has been forwarded to the Juvenile Justice Center of St. Joe County, looking at an intimidation charge.

Police and School City of Mishawaka making it clear that these threats are no joke.

“We can send a message that this just can’t happen,” Barker says.

From the Mishawaka Police Department:

The Mishawaka Police Department is investigating a threat that was made on Youtube Chat during the School City of Mishawaka School Board Meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Mishawaka Detectives secured a search warrant for Google concerning the social media post to shoot up the school. Google replied to the search warrant showing the account returned to a 15-year-old juvenile from LaPorte County. Mishawaka Detectives interviewed the juvenile with a parent present. The Mishawaka Police Department has forwarded the case to the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center for Intimidation.

The Mishawaka Police Department and School City of Mishawaka take every threat serious especially threats made toward our schools, the safety of our students and staff. We will use all means available to identify the individual(s) and hold them accountable.

From Superintendent of Schools Wayne Barker:

Dear School City of Mishawaka Students and Families,

School City of Mishawaka (SCM) has an important update regarding the threat made to Mishawaka High School (MHS) last evening.

School administrators took this threat to school safety very seriously, followed school safety crisis plans, and conducted an investigation in coordination with the

Mishawaka Police Department and our School Resource Officers. As of last night, we could not determine the credibility of the threat to Mishawaka High School. As such, the decision was made for MHS to have an eLearning day and to keep the school building closed to all students and staff today. Because the threat was isolated to only Mishawaka High School, the decision was made to keep all other SCM schools open.

Working overnight, Mishawaka Police secured a search warrant regarding the social media threat. A suspect was identified and interviewed this morning. The suspect is not a Mishawaka student and does not reside in St. Joseph County. Based upon the findings of the interview and other evidence, Mishawaka Police and SCM administrators have determined the threat to be non-existent as the youth responsible issued the threat without intent nor an actual plan to carry out the threat.

SCM students and staff are our greatest priority, and their safety will always come first when we make our decisions. As a result of the findings of this investigation, all evening activities at MHS will occur as scheduled. Additionally, MHS students and staff will return to in-person learning on Friday, February 26.

School City of Mishawaka would like to thank the Mishawaka Police Department for their work with school administrators during this investigation. SCM is fortunate to have a strong partnership with local law enforcement working to keep our schools safe.

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