A 13 year old was taken into custody on suspicion of making criminal threats for allegedly sending a skull emoji with the message, “Gonna light up the school at 12:10,” to a group of Fortuna High School students, leading to a full campus lockdown Thursday afternoon.
According to the Fortuna Police Department, the image was sent out around 12:10 p.m. to some students in an E building class and it was quickly shared around the school via Snapchat. Campus officials immediately put the school on lockdown, the release states, as law enforcement and staff began to investigate and search the grounds and determined “no weapons, dangerous devices or current threat existed.”
Students were released to go home building by building and classroom by classroom around 1:30 p.m.
A Fortuna Police Department investigation tracked the message to the 13 year old and went to his residence in Rio Dell, where the student was detained and a search warrant executed. Among the items seized was a cell phone, clothes “identified in Snapchats” and “multiple firearms.”
The teen was taken to juvenile hall, the release states.
Read the Fortuna Police Department release below:
On Thursday, September 29, 2022 at approximately noon, Fortuna Police received a report of a potential threat to students and school personnel at Fortuna Union High School. It was reported that several high school students in E building during class received an air dropped image on their phones from an unknown person, only identified as a skull emoji. The image was a typed message that read, “Gonna light up the school at 12:10.” This message was quickly spread throughout the school via Snapchat.
Fortuna Union High School immediately initiated a school lockdown. Law enforcement and school staff began to investigate and conduct searches. As a result law enforcement and school staff was able to determine no weapons, dangerous devices or current threat existed on school campus.
Once it was determined safe for students to exit campus, law enforcement and school staff conducted a controlled release of students, building by building, classroom by classroom and the lockdown was released. School Officials elected to release the students for the remainder of the day to allow students reunite with parents following the lockdown.
Fortuna Officers continued the investigation, identifying further threatening messages sent out via Snapchat. Officers quickly identified the 13 year old juvenile responsible for sending the ongoing Snapchat threats. Officers responded to the juveniles’ residence in Rio Dell. The juvenile was detained and a search warrant executed at his residence. Evidence was seized, including a cellular phone, clothing identified in Snapchats and multiple firearms.
The juvenile was taken into custody and booked into Humboldt County Juvenile Hall on the charge of 422(a) of the California Penal Code, Criminal Threats. Anyone with information pertaining to these threats and messages is asked to contact the Fortuna Police Department at (707) 725-7550, attn. School Resource Officer Burley.
We would like to recognize and thank our allied agency partners for their response and assistance. Ferndale Police Department, Rio Dell Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Humboldt County Drug Task Force, Cal Fire Law Enforcement were all on scene assisting Fortuna Police Department and School Staff. Eureka Police Department and other allied agencies offered assistance and were on standby if needed. Fortuna Police Department, Fortuna High School and local law enforcement remain committed to the safety of our youth and schools.