Two Fairfax County teens are facing charges after an investigation revealed they were behind a social media threat regarding a possible shooting at Walt Whitman Middle School.
Detectives from our Criminal Intelligence Division (CID) served the teens, a 14 and 15-year-old from the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, with felony petitions yesterday morning. They have each been charged with one count of threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property. Officers first learned of the threat on February 17 after a walk-in report at our Mount Vernon District Station. CID detectives were brought in to investigate. They searched social media accounts and other databases which led them to identify and charge the teens, who are not being named due to their ages. The suspects turned themselves in and were sent home with their parents after a detention hearing. They are under electronic monitoring. Detectives say the boys were trying to impress a girl and did not actually have the means to carry out this threat.
We continue to work closely with Fairfax County Public Schools in our mission to ensure the safety of students, staff, and the community at large. We encourage parents to talk to their children about school shootings and the seriousness of these threats. In some recent investigations, it was determined that students were “just joking around.” It is important that everyone understands there is nothing funny about any reference to violence in or around our schools, “joke” or not. Such statements will not be tolerated and will be considered threats. We investigate and document every concern brought to our attention and will charge those responsible, even if they are under the age of 18. Juveniles can also face felony charges in these cases regardless of their age. If convicted, our department will seek restitution from the suspects or their guardians to cover the personnel costs associated with these investigations.
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