Police Charge a Somerset County Juvenile with Threatening to Shoot-up His School
By Barbara A. Preston | June 14, 2022
Police arrested a 15-year-old boy on Monday and accused him of calling the Watchung Hills High School office in May and "purporting himself to be in a school bathroom with weapons, stating he was going to shoot up the school at the next bell," according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's office.
Warren Township police officers, along with officers from surrounding jurisdictions and Somerset County agencies, responded immediately to Watchung Hills High School on Wednesday, May 25, at 12:10 pm and initiated their lockdown procedures. After an extensive search of the entire school, it was determined the threat was not credible. Students and faculty were dismissed at the appropriate time while police maintained a presence at the school during dismissal.
After an extensive search of the entire school, police determined the threat was not credible. Students and faculty were dismissed at the appropriate time while police maintained a presence at the school during dismissal.
A police investigation ultimately revealed a 15-year-old boy from Warren, who was a student at the high school, had direct knowledge of the threat made to the school on May 25. The investigation also revealed that the juvenile also attempted to facilitate an additional call of a similar nature to the school on May 26. Despite the threat, police emphasized that "at no time was there an individual in the school with any type of weapon."
Police charged the boy with 2nd degree Conspiracy to Commit False Public Alarm.
While Warren Township detectives were investigating the threat, they became aware of a video depicting the juvenile, which found him to be creating and disseminating videos of animal cruelty, specifically by causing harm to a family pet. Police also charged the boy with 4th degree Animal Cruelty.
The juvenile is lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center pending a Family Court appearance.
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Somerset County Acting Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart commends the Warren Township Police for their work on this case and for ensuring the safety of all students and community members in Warren Township.
Anyone with information relating to this investigation should contact the Warren Township Police Department at 908.753.1000, or Warren Township Police tip line at warrenpolice.com, or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 888.577.TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.
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