Teen accused of threatening Central High prom pleads not guilty

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A teenager accused of threatening to shoot up the Central High School prom pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday.

Snapchat screenshots show the former student allegedly threatening to shoot up the school's prom night Saturday and telling students to wear a vest.

The threats resulted in a significant response from law enforcement around the prom venue.

"I actually went there myself before the prom, and we had about 15 cars of law enforcement, two Fresno PD K9 officers, and the Sheriff's office responded tremendously," says Central Unified School District Interim Superintendent Kelly Porterfield.

Police officers say 18-year-old Edward Hannah was behind the message, and the same day he made the threats, they found and arrested him. Now he's charged with felony criminal threats.

Officers say Hannah admitted to making the post and told them it was a joke, but the Fresno County District Attorney's office, law enforcement, and the Central Unified School District aren't treating it as a joke.

"We brought in detectives, they began the IP address research, we determined who the individual was, Edward Hannah, we knew he was a former student at Central High School, and by that night Edward Hannah was sitting in a jail cell," says Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Chief Dyer says there's been about a dozen of these types of school shooting threats in Fresno since the Parkland massacre and there is zero tolerance for it.

"The district really encourages prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, we take safety very seriously," says Porterfield.

The Central Unified School District says students did exactly what they were supposed to do: if you see something, say something. The district sent out alerts to parents and on social media.

Now Hannah is facing up to three years in prison for what he claims was a joke on Snapchat.

"Not only are we going to arrest them as quickly as we can, they're going to maximize the sentence that they receive," Dyer says.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.