Please be advised that inappropriate comments in response to this post will be deleted.
No doubt there will be additional media accounts concerning this matter, but we wanted to provide you with some background.
First of all, the threat for which this individual has been charged was not related to the general threat investigated last week. However, in the course of the investigation our detectives learned that a male, 17 year old former Somerset student who had already been placed in an alternative education placement outside of Somerset Area High School due to disciplinary issues had confided to others that he was considering, “…shooting the up the school.” Subsequent investigation led to the filing of the juvenile allegation and the detention of the juvenile yesterday, March 1st. He faces a detention hearing on Monday to determine if extended detention is appropriate. The allegation charges him with a single count of Terroristic Threats; he was charged the previous day with unrelated drug delivery charges and other offenses, but had not been placed in detention as a result of those charges.
Secondly, we received incredible support, cooperation and assistance from the Somerset Area School District and the Somerset County Office of the District Attorney. Superintendent Krista Mathias and District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser and their respective staffs are to be commended. They literally dropped everything they were doing to devote their full attention to this matter.
Thirdly, the process worked… it started with concerned citizens, many of them students, expressed concerns over behavior they observed; they appropriately reported it to school and law enforcement officials. Those officials then engaged in a thorough and diligent investigation and took appropriate action.
Finally, prior to the general threat of last week this individual was flying under our radar, even though he was known to us from the matter that led to the charging of those unrelated drug charges. It wasn’t until the detectives were tracking down leads in the general threat of last week that the juvenile’s name and his specific threats surfaced, drawing the investigators’ attention. Had that initial (and eventually unfounded), threat not been treated with appropriate seriousness and diligence, we may never have realized the viable threat represented by the juvenile existed.