Lincoln High student arrested in Friday’s school bomb threat
Lincoln police arrested a 17-year-old Lincoln High School student Tuesday regarding Friday’s bomb threat that evacuated the school, according to Lincoln Police Chief Dan Ruden.
An Auburn resident, the suspect was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Auburn by Lincoln Police Department detectives with the assistance of the Placer County Probation Department. The suspect’s name is being withheld because he is a juvenile.
The Lincoln High student was booked into Placer County Juvenile Hall on charges of making a bomb threat, falsely reporting an emergency and for violating his probation, according to Lincoln police.
The suspect is “facing serious charges,” Ruden said. The incident is covered under California penal code section 422, “making a terrorist threat” and is classified as a felony, according to Ruden.
The code reads in part, “Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out . . . .”
“This kind of threat was never OK,” Ruden said, “but in today’s environment with mass casualty attacks (such as Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School) this sort of thing is taken very seriously. It’s a serious felony.”
Last Friday at 11:32 a.m., a caller “who sounded like a young adult male” contacted Lincoln Police Department’s dispatch “threatening to blow up Lincoln High School at noon,” according to police.
The alleged bomb did not go off at noon Friday.
Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman said he was advised of the threat and ordered the school’s evacuation.
Phoenix High School, located next to Lincoln High School, was not evacuated because the caller did not include Phoenix in the bomb threat. School officials determined that Phoenix “was far enough away” from the bomb threat area to be out of danger, Leaman said.
From the time school officials received the call from police, Lincoln High School Principal Jay Berns said that “they had less than 20 minutes to implement an evacuation plan” for 1,500 students.
“Our goal was to get them out of the classrooms before 12. We had to quickly ask ourselves—where is the safest place to evacuate them to?” Berns said.
School authorities routed students to the far side of the school’s football field next to the parking lot on Nicholaus Road.
After students were evacuated, school officials and police conducted a three-hour “sweep” of the school site, looking for evidence of anything “out of place.” Nothing suspicious was found, the principal said.
“I’m so proud of my staff,” Berns said. “Everybody stepped up and helped. For a bunch of educators, we did good. Our teachers were incredible.”
Berns said the staff “mobilized and moved into action, identifying the medically at-risk kids and making sure they were taken care of.”
Western Placer Unified School District officials, including Leaman and assistant superintendent Mary Boyle, provided support Friday. Berns, high school vice-principal Victoria Eutsey and about 80 teachers and staff members joined in the school search.
“I can’t say enough about how well they (the school authorities) handled this,” Ruden said. “They acted decisively and quickly.”
By 3:15 p.m. Friday, Lincoln Police determined that the bomb threat was a hoax.