A teenage boy is facing a charge after threats were allegedly made against a Saskatoon high school.
Saskatoon police said it became aware of online posts threatening Holy Cross High School on Mceown Avenue at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
“The police became aware of a picture, a floor plan if you will, that had been posted on a social media platform,” Saskatoon police Staff Sgt. Grant Obst said on Wednesday afternoon.
“It was a diagram that appeared to illustrate a floorplan of a high school in Saskatoon on the east side and there was text on that diagram that indicated that high school was going to be the subject of an attack. So bottom-line was it was a threat against the school.”
“The date on the diagram was Dec. 17.”
Patrol members started an immediate investigation and a 16-year-old boy was taken into custody at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, police said.
“Our patrol officers did, in my view, an exceptional job last night, they jumped on it, worked it and within about three and a half hours, were able to track down the source of that diagram, which was a young Saskatoon man, age 16, he was taken into custody (at his home),” Obst said.
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“There were a couple of replica, I don’t know if I would even call them firearms. They certainly wouldn’t be anything that would be capable of doing what was outlined on the diagram. In fact, a search of the home recovered nothing that would be anything that we would be worrying about with respect to that type of an attack.”
Detectives leading the investigation were able to interview the suspect and do not believe there to be any other persons of interest or a risk to public safety.
“There is a working theory that this would be an extremely misguided, misjudged joke and that’s part of what the investigators are looking at … we are certain that he didn’t intend to go into the school and shoot up the place,” Obst said.
“An incredible misjudgment.”
“There was indication that the plan constituted a second person. There was no second person. We’re confident of that.”
Obst said there is currently no risk to public safety but “public fear” was created on Wednesday.
“My understanding is that many parents kept their kids home from school today. I can’t imagine and I am a father, but fortunately, my daughter’s been out of high school for a long time … if I were to look at that diagram, it would scare the heck out of me,” Obst said.
“We do know that diagram was posted to a particular media platform and then subsequently taken from that platform by other people and shared on a more widely platform, Snapchat … a lot of people found out about this very quickly.”
Saskatoon police deputy chief Mitch Yuzdepski said in a tweet that school resource officers will be working with school officials on Wednesday on any VTRA (violence, threat, risk, assessment) protocols. The officers will remain with the school to ensure appropriate supports are in place.
Obst said he wasn’t sure if boy was a student at the high school.
The teen is facing a charge of uttering threats. He was released with conditions including one that he’s not allowed to be anywhere near the school.
He is expected to appear in court Jan. 2, 2020.
His name cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.