Law enforcement authorities in the Tremonton area were temporarily on high alert last week after a teen made an online post suggesting that plans for a school shooting could be in the works, but a police investigation determined there was no real threat.
Early last week, the Tremonton Police Department discovered that a local teen had posted a picture of himself on the popular social media website Snapchat holding some sort of toy gun. A caption underneath the picture read something along the lines of “Don’t go to school tomorrow,” Police Chief Kurt Fertig said.
Fertig said the department took the post seriously, and tracked down and interviewed the teen.
“He said it was a joke, and we found nothing that made us believe it wasn’t,” he said. “Obviously it was not a well thought-out post, and not funny.”
In the picture, the teen appeared to be playing laser tag or a similar game using a toy gun. The threat was not directed at any particular school, person or group of people.
Police are not pursuing any criminal action against the teen, who is of high-school age but is not a student at Bear River High School. However, police increased their presence at local schools last week as a precaution, Fertig said.
“Anytime we have something like that, we up our presence at schools the next day so people feel more comfortable,” he said. “We assess how serious (the threat) is, and determine the right steps to take.”
The teen’s identity was not released because he is a minor.
The merger of the Tremonton and Garland police departments last year made a resource officer available at schools throughout the area instead of just Bear River High, and Fertig said last week’s incident illustrates the benefit of having that additional resource available.
The post has since been removed. Snapchat servers are designed to automatically delete all “Snaps” — pictures or short videos — after they’ve been viewed by all recipients, or after 30 days if they remain unopened.
First released in 2011, Snapchat now has more than 200 million daily, active users worldwide. The platform is especially popular with young people aged 16 and under.