Edmonds-Woodway boy to be charged with cyber threats

Police: Student didn’t intend photo to be viewed widely
Nov 08, 2018

A 17-year-old Edmonds-Woodway High School boy will be charged with criminal cyber threats in juvenile court after he allegedly posted a Snapchat picture threatening a shooting at the school.

“The reckless decision to post such an inflammatory photo, in light of all the school shootings across our nation, caused our community great concern," said Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan. "We take these matters very seriously. The perpetrator is being held accountable.”

The student’s post at around noon Wednesday, Nov. 7, caused considerable concern for the safety of the school after initial media reports. Some parents said they were going to keep their students home Thursday, and Edmonds police beefed up security at the school.

The post contained a photo of an unknown person, dressed in black with his face covered up to his eyes, holding a semi-automatic rife with the caption, “Time to have some fun at Woodway.”

The post was brought to the attention of staff at Edmonds-Woodway, who then notified the Edmonds police school resource officer. An investigation was begun to determine the source of the post and credibility of any threat to the school or community.

According to Sgt. Shane Hawley, it turns out the picture is of an unknown person, taken at an unknown time.

The picture, he said, was originally altered by an Oregon high school student and captioned with “Time to have some fun at Southridge.”

The Edmonds-Woodway student is friends with the Oregon student, Hawley said, and requested he alter the photo caption, changing “Southridge” to “Woodway”.

The newly altered photo was posted to a select group of friends on Snapchat, a popular social media app.

“The chat topics had nothing to do with school violence, and it appears this picture took them by surprise, as there was no talk of school violence or plans being made by anyone,” Hawley said.

“The photo was captured by someone, then began spreading throughout other chat groups. It finally reached the school administration, but by then had passed through many channels, and tracking it to a single source was difficult.”

By late Wednesday, Hawley said police had tracked the photo back to the local student.

“We determined he had no way of carrying out a threat of that magnitude, no plan of violence, and never intended for the picture to leave that chat group,” Hawley said. “Despite those facts, the picture caused a significant amount of fear among the Edmonds-Woodway school community.”



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