On February 21, 2018 at approx. 8:50 am Chino Valley High School officials contacted Chino Valley Police to report a threat against their school. The threats were reported by students to the School officials. Initial information was that a male subject made comments about shooting at the school and they believed the act would occur at 2pm today.
Interviews were conducted with those students that came forward with information. As there was some confusion on the last name initially by the students coming forward, two people of interest were identified. One, a current student at Chino Valley High School, was removed from class and interviewed with his parent present. It was learned he was not involved in this incident and he was released after being interviewed. The second male subject was a former Chino Valley High School student. This suspect was located at a school in Prescott. Prescott Police, at the request of Chino Valley Police, detained the 16 year old male subject until Chino Valley Police could respond and take custody of him.
In the early stages of the investigation we learned of additional social media posts about the 2pm shooting and the information began to spiral and morph via social media platforms such as SnapChat and Facebook. The posts spread on social media like wildfire causing panic amongst students and parents. To help reduce fear and ease parent concerns Chino Valley Police posted an officer at each school through the end of the day.
Chino Valley Police Department was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI advised they were called about a social media post indicating there would be a shooting at Chino Valley High School at 2pm. The social media information was provided to Chino Valley police but wasn’t a direct threat from a suspect, but a concerned third party that saw a social media post and wanted to ensure law enforcement was notified. The FBI reached out and offered any assistance we needed during this investigation.
The interview with the suspect revealed more than a month ago, when he attended Chino Valley High School, the suspect said he did jokingly make statements of shooting the school up and killing himself. He openly admitted that he has told people this on more than one accession but the most recent was maybe a month ago.
After conducting all the interviews today, including the suspect’s ex-girlfriend, we learned last night the suspect, while conversing with his ex-girlfriend on social media, said this is why so many things happen, 2 o’clock tomorrow. This information accompanied with his prior statements that he would shoot up the school, led students to believe he would shoot the school up today at 2pm.
After conducting all interviews and speaking with the suspects father, the suspect was referred for mental health evaluation and counseling. The suspect’s phone was seized and police are searching it for any additional information. Once the investigation is over the matter will be referred to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office for review and charging.
The Chino Valley Police Department will continue to work with the Chino Valley Unified School District on this matter as well as to ensure a safe environment for all students to get an education. The teamwork between our two organizations only works due to the helpful, dedicated student population who is willing to report matters of this nature so that proper intervention can be made.
We would also like to remind people if you see something, hear something or know something please report it to the Police. Report it right away, don’t wait for months or until additional comments/threats are made. We understand the popularity of social media and the ease at which information can be shared, please contact law enforcement with this information as we can help decipher facts from rumor so we and the public can work and make decisions on fact instead of rumor.
We want to thank the Chino Valley High School staff, Chino Valley School District Officials as well as the students, parents and the community for their, cooperation, understanding & teamwork with us during this investigation. We appreciate the parents who did arrive to remove their child from school today for their patience and politeness as this matter was investigated and traffic became a little hectic. We would also like to thank the Prescott Police Department for assisting in locating the 16 year old suspect.