This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Instagram User Threatens School Shootings In The Santa Clarita Valley, Targeting Valencia High School First [UPDATED]
A user on Instagram posted images of dead bodies and assault rifles while threatening to shoot up high school students and make families "suffer" in the Santa Clarita Valley, specifically targeting Valencia High School first.
One post shows an image of assault rifles with an all-caps caption reading:
TO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE SCV AREA. THERE WILL BE A HUGE [redacted] SHOOTING SOON AND A LOT OF YOU [redacted] ARE GOING TO DIE. WE ARE AIMING OUR GUNS MOSTLY AT HIGH SCHOOLS STUDENTS SO YOU PIECES OF [redacted] BETTER BE READY BECAUSE BLOOD WILL BE SHED AND FAMILIES WILL SUFFER. NO MERCY WILL BE SHOWN. SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH WILL HAPPEN ON A VERY DREADFUL DAY. I MUST NOT TELL YOU WHICH DAY IT WILL BE, YOU WILL FIND OUT YOURSELF.
Other posts include a picture of dead bodies with the caption "DEATH MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND" and another saying "VALENCIA HIGH SCHOOL HAS BEEN NOMINATED TO BE SHOT UP FIRST." The posts also contained racist and sexist comments.
The posts, which have since been deleted along with the user's account, have prompted an investigation from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after they received multiple calls late Saturday night about the threats. Authorities say the posts are likely a hoax, but they will still be looking into it as making criminal threats is still a felony, according to KTLA.
"We want people to know that we are looking into this, we take it seriously, and we've already discovered that those photos are not real, they are stock [images]," said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Sheriff's Department.
Investigators don't believe whoever posted the photos actually have access to the guns because it was a stock photo. In addition, the Valencia High School sign pictured in the specific threat targeting the school was of a different Valencia High School in another part of the country.
In response to the threats, Superintendent Rob Challinor of the William S. Hart Unified School District, which includes eight high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley, issued a written statement saying, "Extra precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of our students and staff on all of our campuses, while this is being investigated."
Update [10:25]: KTLA is reporting that a 15-year old has been arrested in connection with the threats.
Update [2:35]: The 15-year old suspect arrested for making the threats is a student at high school in the Santa Clarita Valley area, according to a press release from the Sheriff's Department. No firearms were found in his home, and he never had a plan in place to follow through on the threats, which he made only to get a reaction from his friends.