Teen charged in threats against Coatesville HS

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According to Caln Township Police, at approximately 7:00 a.m. on May 11, school officials learned of a circulating post on social media (Snapchat) that a shooting was to occur at the Coatesville Area High School. As a result, all students and staff were diverted to the Scott Middle School.  Additionally, the Chester County Intermediate Unit, which is directly adjacent to the school district campus, cancelled classes for the day.

The investigation led to the interviews of numerous students from both the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) and the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU).  Investigators learned that the message was shared in a group chat by a particular Snapchat user. As investigators worked to identify the person associated with that account, at about 1:30 p.m. investigators learned of a second message sent in the same group chat alleging that bombs were placed in the Coatesville High School building, and that the bombs would be detonated when students entered.

On the evening of May 11 Pennsylvania State Police troopers with explosives K9’s conducted a sweep of the CASD Senior High, 9-10 Center, and the CCIU Learning Center.  No evidence of explosives was located. The CASD and CCIU determined that schools would be open for class on May 12.

Caln Township Police investigators identified the source of the shooting threat and bomb threat as a 16 year old CCIU student.  The juvenile is being charged with Terroristic Threats (Felony), Threat to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction (Felony), and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (Misdemeanor), and was remanded to the Chester County Juvenile Detention Center.

The Caln Township Police Department takes this opportunity again to remind the community of the importance of the responsible use of social media by all users, adult and children alike.  Parents are strongly encouraged to use this as a teaching moment with their children.  Threats, especially those directed toward schools, will never be treated lightly, or as a “joke” by law enforcement.  If you see concerning posts, such as in this case of school violence, please preserve the image or text and notify authorities right away in lieu of re-posting on social media outlets. Avenues to make prompt reports to authorities would be to call 911 or to make a report to the Safe2Say platform which is monitored 24/7.  Police departmental tip lines are often not monitored 24/7 and are intended for tips regarding criminal activity that does not entail an imminent threat to community safety.

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