Md. boy, 13, charged with posting a threat against middle school

WASHINGTON — A 13-year-old is facing charges after investigators said he posted a threat on social media to target students at his former middle school.

The young teen, whose name was not released, is facing a juvenile offense of making a threat of mass violence. Investigators with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said deputies got a tip Sunday night from someone who saw an ominous photo posted on Snapchat.

The social media post of a gun and ammunition had a caption indicating a certain group of students at Milton Somers Middle School, in La Plata, Maryland, would be targeted, said Diane Richardson, with the sheriff’s department.

The 13-year-old used to attend the school, and a search warrant of his friend’s house turned up the starter gun pictured in the post, she said.

Richardson said the gun is normally used in sporting events, and looks and sounds like a handgun, but the 49 rounds investigators found are blank and therefore incapable of hurting anyone.

In a letter to parents on Tuesday, Principal Carrie Akins said that she couldn’t reveal the threat or the investigation until the sheriff’s office finished its work. She said, however, that “Precautions were in place on Monday to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” including extra resource officers.

Akins added that parents should remind their kids that “snaps,” which supposedly disappear after someone sees them, can be traced, and to to let an adult know when they hear anything like a threat.

“Whether our students think a friend is ‘kidding’ or ‘serious,’ or whether or not they believe someone would carry out a threat is not a decision for them to make,” she wrote.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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