3 Arrested in Rocklin High Schools Gun Violence Scare
SACBEE REPORTS CHARGES DROPPED:
On Thursday, May 29, 2014, at approximately 12:15 PM, Rocklin Police received information from the Principal of Whitney High School regarding a rumor that had recently started throughout the school.
A parent had called the Principal and shared that her son had heard a rumor about guns and a shooting on the Whitney High School campus to occur Friday, May 30th, 2014. The Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD) administration immediately engaged the help of a Rocklin Police School Resource Officer.
Through a cooperative investigation by Rocklin Police and RUSD, several rumors were tracked down leading to an Instagram profile created seven (7) weeks ago. The Instagram profile description read, "Whitney High School new world order 5/30/14." No evidence of guns, nor a shooting, nor threats were found on this profile. Students who spoke to both school administrators and the police officer stated they followed the Instagram profile briefly out of curiosity, but there had been no activity on the profile since April 10th, 2014.
The Rocklin Police and RUSD cooperative investigation discovered that students did not report the Instagram profile until today, because students didn't think much of the profile until they realized that the following day (Friday, May 30th) was the date mentioned in the post. The strange Instagram post, along with date of 5/30/2014 caused alarm for some students.
Regardless that no substance or criminality to the rumors was determined, nor the identity of the Instagram profile discovered, RUSD officials and Rocklin Police took the student concerns seriously and RUSD took immediate steps to ensure the safety of school children by making notifications as a precaution. The notification was clear that no credible threats had been discovered, and this appeared to be a large-scale rumor.
The notifications caused multiple calls by concerned parents to Rocklin 911, as well as numerous social media conversations and anonymous tips to the Rocklin Police Department. There were subsequent postings on Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets regarding the original Instagram posting.
Later in the day, on May 29, 2014, Rocklin Police subsequently discovered separate and independent threats of school gun violence posted on Twitter, which were not believed to be associated with the original Instagram posting. These new postings of school gun violence were against both Whitney High School, as well as Rocklin High School, and caused more confusion and alarm among students and parents.
Rocklin Police investigated several leads, all of which were through various social media outlets. The identities of three suspects were discovered. Subsequently, police quickly responded to the separate homes of two juveniles and the home of one 18-year-old adult believed to be involved in the social media threats against the schools. Because of their age, Rocklin Police are not releasing the identities of the two juveniles arrested.
Both juveniles were arrested and booked into Placer County Juvenile Hall for:
- Annoying Electronic Communications (653m PC), and
- Criminal Threats (422 PC)
The adult arrested was Justin Herrmann, 18-years-old of Rocklin, who was arrested and booked into Placer County Jail on the following charges:
- Making criminal threats through a third party (653.2PC)
- Obstructing a police investigation (148a1PC)
Because this criminal investigation is on going, the means by which suspect identification was concluded, and the specific threats of gun violence that were made against Whitney High School and Rocklin High School are not being released at this time. However, the threats were determined to be gun related and were a in a variety of different posts.
On Friday morning, May 30th, 2014, Rocklin Police plan to beef up uniformed patrols at Rocklin Unified School District schools.
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