SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento teen is under arrest for allegedly making terrorist threats to area high schools.
Police said this is a wake-up call for parents to remain vigilant when it comes to smartphones and computers in the hands of children. Any threats on social media are taken seriously by the police. In most cases, if the threats are made on a computer or smartphone, they can be tracked down, say police.
“I saw McClatchy, I saw a Legion, I saw Valley, I saw a couple others, I think, and it made me wonder what would make anyone just want to do that,” said American Legion student Paul Bowa.
Using the Instagram handle @Aimbotsfordays, the messages threatening to shoot up or bomb several high schools in the Sacramento Area. Bowa said the threat was real enough for him as he read the stories on Monday.
“I would have not gone to school today knowing that my school could be one of the first targets,” Bowa said.
Letters and voicemails went to parents as police received several calls about the viral posts. School resource officers, detectives and dispatchers fielded over 100 calls about the threat.
The threat consisted of multiple Instagram stories using language like, “I’ve been wanting to do this school honestly this is my first target.”
Working around the clock, detectives tracked down the boy at 3 am. Tuesday morning and arrested him for allegedly terrorist threats.
There’s a possibility it was all a prank gone wrong, but in the current climate, Sacramento police say your computer or smartphone is a footprint that provides them with the tools to investigate threats whether they are real or harmless.
“In general, through social media, it’s as easy as locating an IP address. Through that IP address you can typically find out who that carrier or internet provider is as far as finding a location of where that use is coming from,” said Marcus Basquez with the Sacramento Police Department.
The teen can’t be identified because he is a minor. Police determined Tuesday there was no credible threat because of the posts.
“In today’s environment in today’s society now with social media platforms it creates a whole new environment that police officers or detectives have to work through now,” Basquez said.
Some students are taking this as a teaching moment about what they can post on social media. Police are warning parents to monitor their kids’ social media posts even if it means activating parental controls.