Port Angeles Police Officer Mike Johnson stands guard outside Stevens Middle School on Monday morning. Police took a male student into custody after threats were posted on Snapchat. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles Police Officer Mike Johnson stands guard outside Stevens Middle School on Monday morning. Police took a male student into custody after threats were posted on Snapchat. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles police find firearm replicas at student’s home after threat

Boy detained after report to FBI

PORT ANGELES — Police found multiple realistic airsoft guns after serving a search warrant at the home of a Stevens Middle School student who was arrested Monday when Snapchat reported a threat to the FBI.

The boy, who is not being identified, remained held in the Clallam County juvenile detention facility for investigation of threats to bomb or injure property, a Class B felony, and could appear in court today.

The Port Angeles Police Department first learned of the threat at 4:24 a.m. Monday from the FBI, which told police Snapchat had reported the threat to federal authorities.

Sgt. Kori Malone called the Snapchat post — which showed what appeared to be multiple firearms and included text that referenced “school” — a credible threat. No specific school was mentioned.

Police arrested the student at his bus stop at about 7 a.m. Monday, before the start of school. Port Angeles schools operated on normal schedules Monday.

“He did not have any weapons on his person when taken into custody,” said Sgt. Kori Malone.

Search warrant

After the boy was arrested, police served a search warrant at his home and found multiple realistic airsoft-style replica firearms. Malone said they appeared to be the same weapons that appeared in the Snapchat post.

Under state law it is a felony to “threaten to bomb or otherwise injure any public or private school building,” even if the threat was a hoax.

The Port Angeles School District was contacted at about 6:45 a.m. by PAPD and at 7:45 a.m. a message went out to staff and parents.

“PASD commends both the Port Angeles Police Department and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office for their stellar handling of this situation,” said PASD spokesperson Jennifer Sperline in an email. “It was an amazing collaborative effort. We are honored to work alongside them in supporting our students.”

School Resource Detective Shane Martin and Officer Mike Johnson spent much of their day Monday at Stevens in response to the threat.

Malone would not describe in detail the nature of the threat, but said “the post was concerning enough that we believed it needed immediate action.”

She said police are not yet saying specifically what the threat was because police believe some students may have seen the post Sunday evening and not reported it.

It’s not clear exactly when the student posted on Snapchat, but police now want to speak to anyone who might have seen the post.

Malone said it is concerning if students saw the post and did not report it.

“That’s why we want to reach out and talk to those students,” Malone said. “We want to know from students what they saw and why they didn’t report it. We want to use it as a chance to educate why to report things like that.”

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said Monday afternoon that his office was still awaiting a police report, which would be used to determine how the case moves forward.

Nichols said it is possible that the boy could either not face charges, that he could enter a diversion program, or that he could face formal charges.

“We’re in a holding pattern waiting to receive the police report,” he said. “Once we receive it, I expect [Tuesday] we’ll review it in the morning and make a decision on how to proceed. We are at the point right now where we have more questions than answers.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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