Toy gun used in terroristic threat on social media - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Toy gun used in terroristic threat on social media

Spanish Fort Police have confirmed this is the picture that started the investigation into the terrorist threat. Photo: FOX10 Viewer Submission Spanish Fort Police have confirmed this is the picture that started the investigation into the terrorist threat. Photo: FOX10 Viewer Submission
SPANISH FORT, AL (WALA) -

Two 16 year-old Spanish Fort High School students were arrested after police said they made a terroristic threat against the school.  Police said the boys took a picture of one of them holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol and posted it on social media warning students not to come to school Monday, March 20, 2017. 

Spanish Fort Police began getting numerous phone calls and emails regarding a threat on social media at 2:45 Sunday, March 19, 2017.  A brief investigation led to the arrest of the boys.  Investigators said the boys took a picture of one of them holding a realistic looking handgun, attached a threatening message and posted it to a social media site.

“It was a very specific threat warning students not to come to school the following day,” said Spanish Fort Police Chief, David Edgar.

Edgar said the weapon in the picture was recovered at the home of one of the suspects and turned out to be a toy gun that shoots plastic pellets.  He also said he doesn't believe there was ever any real threat to anyone's safety.

“That doesn’t negate the charge.  It doesn’t change the charge.  The perception from those that received it was that it was a real firearm,” Edgar explained.

The posted message spread quickly throughout the community, causing much concern. Because of this, Edgar said the charges were warranted. He said one of the boys posed with the toy gun for the picture and the other one posted it to his social media account. That's the reason both have been charged.  School leaders said threats like this are taken very seriously.

“There is no laughing these things off anymore because as a responsible leader of this school system, I can’t do that and I don’t think anybody else would expect me to do that so the message is if you’re going to mess around with something like this and you think it’s all in jest, it’s taken very seriously,” said Baldwin County Schools superintendent, Eddie Tyler.

The two students are being held at the Baldwin County Juvenile Detention Facility until a court hearing on Wednesday.  At that hearing, it will be determined whether or not they should stay in custody or be released pending further court actions.  

Tyler said he will wait until the criminal investigation and court proceedings are completed before deciding if the students will be allowed back in public school to complete their education.  
 

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