Arrests Made for Social Media Threats Involving Potential Violence at Heritage High School
FROM THE DESK OF MENIFEE CHEIF OF POLICE, PAT A. WALSH
At approximately 9:00 PM, the Menifee Police Department (MPD) received a call for service from a Perris Union School District employee regarding threatening statements posted to social media. The statements referenced potential violence planned for Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at Heritage High School.
Based on the nature of the threats, MPD officers and detectives began to immediately investigate the source of the threats and to determine if the threats were credible. MPD detectives authored search warrants for the social media accounts used to disseminate the threats. Upon getting the search warrants approved, detectives were able to identify two Heritage High School Students, as well as their home addresses.
Detectives worked throughout the night to contact the two involved students and their parents. Both students admitted to being responsible for the threatening posts. Based on their investigation, detectives determined the students did not have the current means to follow through on the threats; however, due to the nature of the threats and method of dissemination, both students were arrested for Penal Code 422.2 (b) [criminal threats related to a school by a person under the age of 18]. Both students were transported to Riverside County Juvenile Hall and booked into custody. The investigation is ongoing, including a search of all electronic devices associated with the threats. Detectives do not believe there is any ongoing threat to the safety of students.
MPD wants everyone, including students, to know that threats of any type will be taken seriously. This includes threats to use firearms, other weapons, physical assault, or any other illegal activity. There is no such thing as a joke when it comes to these types of threats.
Student safety is a top priority for MPD and all three school districts within the City of Menifee. Having said that, we cannot do it alone. Student safety is everyone’s responsibility. We encourage anyone who may have information that could jeopardize the safety of a student to immediately report it to school administrators and the police.
Parents, we encourage you to have conversations with your children regarding the severity of these types of threats and the importance of being responsible when using social media.