Peoria police: 12-year-old arrested after making school threat

Posted at 1:09 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 20:39:59-05

Police have arrested a 12-year-old Peoria boy after he made a threat against Santa Fe Elementary School via social media. 

According to the Peoria Police Department, the boy, who attends Alta Loma Elementary School, made the threat that was deemed credible. 

The threat was brought to the attention of two staff members who then contacted police. Police told ABC15 the boy was going to "shoot up all the 6th graders" and also posted a picture of a gun. 

Police were alerted to the threat on Monday around 2:30 p.m. They were able to investigate and arrest the boy. The suspect was arrested to ensure he would not be on campus on Tuesday, police said. 

"We spend an awful lot of time with our kids teaching them if you see something say something," said Danielle Airey with the Peoria Unified School District. "If you don't feel safe or something doesn't feel right reach out to an adult, your teacher or even to a parent."

The gun turned out to be a toy gun, however the boy's threat prompted an emergency response.

"It was a replica handgun, a toy gun, I believe it was a BB or a pellet gun. So there was no real gun involved," said Officer Brandon Sheffert, a Peoria Police Department spokesperson. "But again we never know and it would've caused major problems if that kid would've shown up to that school with that gun."

The boy was booked into the Durango Juvenile Detention Center on a hoax charge, other charges may be added. 

"It caused a lot of fear and concern among parents and students because the ultimate goal is to make sure kids can go to school safely," Sgt. Sheffert said.

Both schools sent out letters to students and families, which read in part:

"Peoria Unified works closely with our local law enforcement agencies on any and all threats and appreciate their rapid response as the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We hope this incident will serve as a reminder to all students that a threat against an educational institution is a violation of state law and that those found to be involved in such threats will be prosecuted."

Any additional information regarding the boy or the threat can be shared with the Peoria Police Department.