Search warrant alleges Cache County teens talked about school shooting on Instagram

File photo: Pond5

CACHE COUNTY, Utah, Dec. 4, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A pair of 16-year-old boys from Cache County were allegedly planning a shooting on a school bus, and at a school, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Cache County Sheriff’s Office investigators requested a search warrant through the 1st District Court for the teenagers’ social media accounts, after a witness said they had created an Instagram account together.

In the search warrant, detectives said on Nov. 10, an anonymous tip came through the “Safe UT Tip” line at Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum stating: “I don’t know if it was a joke or not. I heard [a student] joking about bringing a gun on the bus or to school and shooting people. I don’t know if that was a joke or true.” The tip gave the number of the bus and said the teen was talking to another juvenile.

The School Resource Officer was contacted and began to investigate the tip, the search warrant said. The SRO was able to speak with a juvenile witness, who had been on the bus and overheard the two 16-year-old boys talking about plans to “shoot up the school bus then the school.” The witness also heard them talking about wearing bandannas when they executed their plans. This witness was then interviewed by a detective from the Cache County Sheriff’s Office and provided a written statement.

This same witness told the SRO about an Instagram account that the two juveniles had created together.

“Upon reviewing the Instagram account, there were multiple pictures and words making fun of and glorifying school shooters,” the search warrant said. One example was a picture of a Star Wars Stormtrooper and another was a picture of Mickey Mouse.

One of the 16-year-old boys was interviewed briefly at his home and he admitted that he and the other 16-year-old jointly managed the account. The page was followed by more than 50 people, most of whom the SRO was able to identify as other Mountain Crest students, the search warrant said.

It’s not clear whether either or both of the 16-year-old boys has been charged.

Cache County Sheriff’s officials also released a news release Tuesday stating that threats made against the school have now been fully investigated and safety plans have been initiated.

A news release from Sheriff D. Chad Jensen said that in early November, the Cache County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of the threats.

“The Sheriff’s Office school resource officer immediately followed up on the threats,” the news release said. “In collaboration with the Cache County school steps were taken to ensure the safety of the students.”

Over the next week, an “exceptionally thorough investigation” was conducted, including dozens of interviews and serving search warrants to obtain any and all information pertaining to the threats made toward the school.

Through a coordinated effort with the Cache County Attorney’s Office, Bear River Mental Health and the Cache County School District, resources and safety plans have been initiated for the safety of all young people at area schools.

“Cache County Sheriff’s Office conducted an appropriate and thorough investigation and does not believe there is an actionable threat to the safety of our kids,” the news release said. “This is still an ongoing investigation and great work is being done with all agencies and resources involved.”

The news release added: “In a review of this incident the Cache County Sheriff’s Office is even more committed to working cooperatively with the schools and local mental health authorities to continue to develop best practices to ensure community safety.”

The news release added that individuals are asked to remain cognizant and report potential threats.

“We would remind all citizens; if you see or hear something, say something,” the news release said. “Please let law enforcement investigate and intervene as early as possible to avoid a tragedy.”


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