GREAT FALLS — A 17-year-old Great Falls High School student faces a felony intimidation charge after he reportedly threatened to carry out a school shooting.
The boy made an initial appearance in Juvenile Court Friday, the Great Falls Tribune reported. He did not enter a plea.
School resource officer Cory Reeves testified that he arrested the boy after receiving information about a text conversation between the boy and a fellow student in which he said he planned a shooting at Great Falls High on Nov. 2, the Monday after the crosstown football game.
The other student and her father reported the exchange to Great Falls Police at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Officers took three guns and ammunition from the boy’s bedroom.
He told police he sent the texts, but that he did not intend to harm anyone, court records said. The boy was released to his mother at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
After a follow-up interview, Reeves determined there were grounds to pursue charges.
Based on his training, Reeves said the more details a person provides for carrying out a plan of a school shooting, the higher the risk the person is.
Court records detailed the text exchange between the boy and another student in which he said he hated people in general and asked if the other student wanted to do a school shooting. The other student questioned his seriousness several times and the boy insisted he was, and “I’ve been planning it for a while,” for the Monday after the crosstown football game. He assured the other student she would survive the shooting. He also sent her a picture of a rifle leaning against a wall with the caption, “I hide my gun from my family,” court records said.
Reeves said the boy does not have a criminal history, but was accused of chopping a teacher in the throat with his hand in May 2014. The teacher decided not to pursue charges.
Reeves said the staff is scared. Superintendent Tammy Lacey said any threats of violence will be taken seriously by the school district.
Judge John Kutzman ordered the boy held in juvenile detention until the center obtains a GPS monitoring device. The boy could then be released to his parents, but would have to stay at least 1.5 miles away from the school.
“You did this,” Kutzman told the boy. “The police have no choice but to take this seriously.”
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