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Edina High Schooler Responsible for Violent Threats Hoped to 'Cancel Classes'

The 17-year-old EHS student reportedly lied to officers about his involvement before admitting he posted the violent threats online.

The 17-year-old student responsible for making threats of violence against Edina High School earlier this month allegedly did so to get out of a day of classes, according to court documents.

Edina Police arrested the teen on Thursday, Oct. 4, after he allegedly wrote violent threats against his fellow EHS students online. The student faces one count of making terroristic threats, a felony level offense.

In a disturbing post on popular Internet forum 4chan, the anonymous user said he would "assault the school" using a sniper rifle from the nearby woods. The poster threatened to attack students in the school's common areas, then said he would "hit the school with an RPG like my friends in Libya." He also threatened to take his own life, provided he was not shot first.

The post also included a grim photograph of the two assailants who shot and killed fellow students before taking their own lives at Columbine High School in 1999.

According to a petition filed with Hennepin County, the boy was actually one of the first people to call the Edina Police Department to report the posting. He allegedly told police an unknown individual had hacked into his computer and posted the messages, making it appear as if he'd authored the posting.

When officers arrived at the teen's home, he told them he'd been doing his homework that evening on his laptop and lost power for a 40-minute window. He claimed the written threats had been posted online from his laptop during that time period, but denied authoring the post.

Police left the home do conduct further investigation, then returned to the boy's home to discuss the impact of the threats. At that point, police report the teen admitted to writing the post and said his intention "was to get the school to cancel classes the next day." He also acknowledged the post had been "a poor decision," according to the petition.

Shortly after being taken into custody, the boy asked to be allowed to get a sweatshirt from his bedroom. Officers said they walked with him to the room, where they observed what appeared to be a "high powered rifle which contained a scope" leaning against a wall. Upon closer inspection, police realized the weapon was actually a pellet gun that closely resembled a sniper rifle.

Court documents did include the name of the 17-year-old student, but Edina Patch has a policy of not printing the names of minors. While state law says information on suspects older than 16 years charged with a felony is public, we opted to not publish it as we did not feel his name added anything to the story.

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David F October 19, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Do the Edina Schools do any education around the use and misuse of technology and in particular social media? Regardless of whether this student ends up with a criminal record this incident will follow him the rest of his life thanks to the Internet. He can all but forget about any job with the US government since they do search the Internet for this type of information.
Ryan Gauthier October 19, 2012 at 11:36 PM
A great question, David. I would tend to think the district educates students quite a bit about using social media and technology in general, but I can't say for certain what sort of teaching goes into "things not to do." I'll check with them to see what they can tell me.
David F October 21, 2012 at 05:00 AM
I had a discussion last year with a technology person at a local school district and I asked about what they do when students get caught doing things that are against school policy such as sexting. The response I got was that the school district did not want to come down too hard on students. My response was that sexting is a felony and they have no choice but to report it to police. The world of social media is perhaps changing too fast for schools to keep up with. I know there are school districts in Washington, DC that work with government related trade organizations to put on courses on the proper use of social media but I have heard of none of this in MN

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