A 15-year-old Fresno Unified School District student was arrested Thursday morning after allegedly posting a photo of a case filled with rifles at Walmart on social media with a threatening message, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
The teenage girl, who was not named, attended Edison High School in southwest Fresno and The Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) in Clovis.
Dyer said investigators determined the threatening post – “Don’t come to school tomorrow” with a string of emojis, written over a photo of guns – was aimed at Edison High School, where the girl attends school in the afternoon.
There was an increased police presence at Edison High, along with nearby Gaston and Computech middle schools, on Thursday as a precaution.
It’s believed the girl acted alone. The investigation is ongoing.
Dyer said she was arrested early Thursday morning at CART following a tip from Snapchat to the FBI, who investigated the threat with Fresno police. Dyer said the girl admitted to making the threatening post. Her aunt also told investigators she was aware of it and concerned about it after they tracked the phone to a home on the 700 block of East Samson Avenue south of Fresno.
A pellet gun was also confiscated at the property, Dyer said, which belongs to the girl’s mother, who lives with the girl’s aunt.
The girl was booked into the juvenile justice campus on suspicion of making terrorist threats and is facing “a substantial amount of time in custody.” Dyer said his office is pursuing criminal charges and will encourage the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office to file them.
He said his office takes these threats “very seriously” and it’s important to address them to avoid copycats.
Dyer said he heard the girl was highly intelligent and was doing well in school with a bright future.
“Unfortunately, she has potentially ruined her future as a result of this incident, in making this threat,” Dyer said.
Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson also spoke during the afternoon news conference at police headquarters.
“Students, I need you to understand, unequivocally and very seriously, that all of these terrorist threats are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Nelson said. “Anything that you do on social media is immediately trackable to you, and you can’t be naive about it.”