Police on Monday announced the arrest of a Napa, Calif., middle school student in connection with what they said was a plan to carry out a mass shooting at two schools in the district.
Following reports of the threat, the Napa Police Department on Wednesday searched two homes where the student lived and found evidence they said supported a planned attack, including web and social media searches about previous mass shootings, said Capt. Patrick Manzer, a spokesman for the Napa Police Department.
The 14-year-old student was taken into custody on suspicion of making criminal threats and dissuading a witness, police said in a statement. Authorities said the student threatened to kill a classmate who warned police about the plot.
Police launched an investigation Dec. 31 while students were on winter break. A classmate of the suspect told police the student had spoken about planning a shooting at multiple schools in the Napa Valley Unified School District for some time. Manzer said the student showed investigators text messages between the two as evidence of the threats.
“We haven’t recovered a bunch of bombs and guns,” he said. “He was doing his research and trying to plan it but hadn’t acquired stuff.”
Both students attend River Middle School, which shares a campus with Harvest Middle School. The shooting threats targeted River Middle School and Vintage High School, police said. Neither the suspect nor the student who came forward with the allegations was identified by police because they are minors.
“We believe based on the information collected at this point, this was possibly a tragedy averted and are thankful for the information provided to us,” the Napa Police Department said in a statement.
Students returned to classes Monday, and police said there no longer was a threat to any school in the Napa district. Manzer said additional patrols had been added to the schools that were targeted.
“Had the student not brought it forward, who knows what would have happened,” Manzer said. “We want to commend that student for being brave … and bringing this information to our attention.”
In a statement Monday night, Rosanna Mucetti, superintendent for the Napa Valley Unified School District, echoed Manzer’s gratitude for the student who came forward with the allegations.
“As a society, we need to be brave and willing to say something when we see something,” she said. “That young person may have literally saved lives by speaking up.”
Mucetti reassured parents that the district had been in contact with investigators since the allegations were reported.
“Had there been an active threat that required families to take action, both law enforcement and the district would have been proactive and clear about that,” she said.