A 13-year-old Martinez youth has been arrested after he was accused of threatening to kill multiple people at the Pleasant Hill school he attended, school and law enforcement officials said.
The boy used Snapchat to send a message to another student in which he promised to kill “at least 30 people” during the final class day at Valley View Middle School. The message also contained an anti-gay slur, officials said.
The multi-agency investigation began June 1 when Snapchat told the Federal Bureau of Investigations about the message, which incorporated a photograph of the “Ugly Betty” actress America Ferrera, multiple gun emojis and an abbreviation for “kill yourself.”
After the FBI identified the sender and notified Concord Police Department, law enforcement authorities obtained a search warrant for his Martinez home. Several firearms were removed from the home and the boy was taken into custody.
Pleasant Hill Police officers have said the boy has claimed the message was a joke, but authorities aren’t laughing.
Principal Lisa Sullivan sent out a statement to Valley View families, saying, “We take every threat seriously and wanted to inform you of one we discovered this weekend.” She said the school worked in partnership with police agencies in the investigation, and told families one person had been detained.
In its own statement, the FBI said, “This incident could have been the next school shooting, but because of the partnership we have with our private sector and local law enforcement partners, it was prevented.”
The boy, who has not been identified because of his age, faces charges of making terrorist threats and has been taken to the Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall.