Data hunt: Police granted warrant for Facebook info linked to school threat
Apr 18, 2013 | 2131 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scotts Valley Police Department, investigating a threat to “shoot up” Scotts Valley High School last week, requested a search warrant from Santa Cruz Superior court Tuesday, April 16, to access Internet protocol addresses and user account information from Facebook.

In response to the threat — made late April 11 on the social networking website Facebook — Scotts Valley Unified School District officials closed the high school Friday, April 12, and canceled all athletic events at the 555 Glenwood Drive campus.

The high school reopened Monday, April 15, with an officer stationed on campus.

On Friday, police officers were stationed at Vine Hill Elementary School, 151 Vine Hill School Road, and Scotts Valley Middle School, 8 Bean Creek Road, both of which remained open.

Officers also checked in with Brook Knoll Elementary School, which is part of Scotts Valley Unified School District but falls under the jurisdiction of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office at 151 Vine Hill School Road in Santa Cruz.

According to Scotts Valley Police Lt. John Wilson, an anonymous Facebook user issued the threat at 10 p.m. April 11.

“Somebody posted anonymously that they were going to shoot up the school," Wilson said. "No one specific was targeted."

The post also stated , “If you go to school tomorrow you will die,” according to the department.

Wilson said the threat specifically referred to Scotts Valley High School and Friday, April 12.

The police learned about the threat from a student at 11 p.m., he said.

Scotts Valley Unified School District officials decided to close the campus at 3:30 a.m. Friday morning as a safety precaution, before anyone went on campus .

The school principal, Valerie Bariteau, and a school board member, Art Bubb, stood outside the gate with a police officer Friday morning explaining the situation to passers-by.

Lt. John Hohmann said the department’s warrant asks Facebook to preserve the user accounts in question so the department can retrieve as much information about the suspect as possible in case the suspect attempts to delete the information. He said that the screen name listed on the Facebook post is used by hundreds of people . The username is often accompanied by the picture of a gorilla or sitcom characters, he said. Hohmann also noted that investigations of this type can take time to complete.

Hohmann said the department reacts with special caution to school-related threats.

“You have to with everything that’s going on at school and colleges and even Boston right now ,” Hohmann said, referencing Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon that killed three people. “It’s unfortunate that violence is prevalent in our society right now.”

Anyone with information about the threat against Scotts Valley High is asked to call Scotts Valley Police Department at 440-5670 .

To comment, email editor Peter Burke at peter@pressbanner.com, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.

Comments
(1)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Charade D'jouarre
|
April 22, 2013
I'm a little confused here...this "threat" was serious enough for school authorities to work through the night, cancel classes during the early hours of the morning, keep all students out of classes, cancel sporting events, and drop unplanned changes on every SVHS family, but they waited FIVE FREAKING DAYS to request a warrant to start investigating who made the post? FIVE DAYS?

What are we paying all these cops for? For what does our Superior Court have such a large budget?

The warning came at 11pm and was taken seriously enough to cancel classes. Why wasn't a judge woken up at 11:30 to issue the warrant? Why weren't Facebook engineers pulling logs by midnight? What were the officials waiting for, a body count?

Something doesn't jibe here. If it was a serious threat, then I expect our officials (including the cops and courts) to act seriously and in a TIMELY MANNER. But the fact that officials sang "lah-dee-dah" on starting a real investigation while putting on an enormous show for the community (closing school, posting cops out front) speaks volumes to their priorities and true agenda.

Color me extremely unimpressed. Press-Banner, PLEASE dig more deeply and get us some answers: if our officials considers this to be a serious threat to students, why wasn't a judge woken up THAT NIGHT to issue the needed warrants and start a technical investigation of the post?


We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at pbeditor@pressbanner.com.