Suspect in Custody in Connection to an Online Threat Made to AHS
Police say they have a teenager in custody in connection to online threats against Albemarle High School. Investigators say the teen made a post on social media threatening to carry out a shooting.
The suspect is charged with one felony count of threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property.
Investigators say there is no evidence this is connected to the online threat made March 20 toward Charlottesville City Schools.
Albemarle County School Superintendent Matt Haas said there will be an increase in police presence at all county schools Friday, March 22.
The email sent out from Albemarle County School District stated:
"Good Evening, Albemarle High School Students and Families,
I am writing with important information about the school day tomorrow, Friday, March 22nd.
This afternoon, the Albemarle County Police Department notified school division staff that a threat was posted on social media earlier today that made reference to “Albemarle High School.”
There is no evidence that links this threat to the one received Wednesday by Charlottesville City Schools.
The police department has been in close consultation with us as they continue to investigate this matter. In light of this report, in partnership with the police department and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking all necessary measures to ensure that AHS and all of our schools remain safe.
These measures will include additional police and school administrators being present at Albemarle High School tomorrow and a continuation of the increased police presence we had today throughout our school division.
One of the many strengths of our school division is our shared commitment to safe, secure and nurturing schools. Threats such as this one seek to disrupt our learning environments. If any of you has information or knows someone with information that can assist the police in concluding, as soon as possible, their investigation into who posted this threat, you should not hesitate to call the department at 434-296-5808."
On Thursday evening, NBC29 spoke with Superintendent Haas on his thoughts in regards to Charlottesville's decision to close city schools on Friday.
"We try to react with a lot of caution, and take it very seriously at the same time we want to remember that most of the time when we know it's a child and it’s a child in our school system that they're children and they're going to make mistakes and they're going to do things that are sometimes inappropriate doesn't make it right but also we need to remember we need to treat it that," said Haas.
The superintendent sent the following message around 10:50 p.m. Thursday, March 21:
"Dear Members of Our Learning Community,
I realize you are receiving this message quite late, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to read it as soon as possible.
Earlier this evening, I sent the following message to our Albemarle High School families. After some reflection, I think it is appropriate to share the message with our entire school community.
The increased police presence at and near our schools that I referenced in my email this morning will continue throughout the day on Friday. Please see the message below for more information.
Dr. Matthew S. Haas
Superintendent of Schools"
03/22/2019 Release from the Albemarle County Police Department:
On Thursday, March 21, 2019, the Albemarle County Police Department was notified of a threat to carry out a shooting at Albemarle High School that was posted on social media. With assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Federal Bureau of Investigations, ACPD detectives were able to identify the juvenile responsible for making the threat.
The Albemarle County teen suspected of posting the threats was taken into police custody and charged with one felony count of 18.2-60: Threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property.
At this time, the Albemarle County Police Department is investigating this as an isolated incident, with no connection to the social media threats directed towards Charlottesville High School from earlier this week.
The Albemarle County Police Department is committed to pursuing criminal charges against those who choose to take to social media and threaten to carry out acts of violence against our community.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Albemarle County Police Department will have an increased police presence at all Albemarle County Public Schools on Friday, March 22.
The investigation into this threat is ongoing and no additional information will be released at this time. Any further inquiries should be directed towards the Albemarle County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.