Avenal teen arrested for school shooting threat on Snapchat

AVENAL, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police in Avenal worked quickly to track down a high school student who threatened to carry out a school shooting at Avenal High School.

More than half of the school's student population was not in class on Monday, even though officials had determined there was no longer a threat to students or staff at the school.

"I think the student is remorseful," said Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East said. "I don't think he'll be repeating this. But yet at the same time, the student has caused quite a bit of a stir."

On Sunday, police say a concerned community member made school administration aware of the 17-year-old student's social media threat to carry out a school shooting similar to the one in Florida earlier this month.

Avenal Police Chief Russell Stivers says the Snapchat image showed the suspect holding a gun, which turned out to be an airsoft gun.

The Central Valley Regional SWAT Team found it during a high-risk search warrant at the student's home.

Stivers says his parents didn't know about their son's school shooting threat.

"They were a little in disbelief, especially at 4 a.m. when the SWAT team entered their house," Stivers said.

Stivers says they have an idea of the student's motives but are not releasing that at this time.

He says the suspect told police the threat was a hoax, and that he did not plan to actually do it.

"Threats of this nature are not considered a joke or a misunderstanding," Stivers said. "They are very serious and will not be tolerated in our community. Parents, please convey that to your children. We can't emphasize that point enough-this is not a joke."
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