On Wednesday February 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM, Deputies from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance of the California Highway Patrol, were dispatched to the McKinleyville High School. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) dispatch center had received a cellular 911 call. The male caller reported, “There is a hostage situation at the high school.” Additional phone calls were placed from the blocked number making additional threats such as, “Give us the money or we will start shooting students.” And, “This is not a joke, this is not a drill.”
In review of the recorded phone calls from CHP, it was noted there was more than one voice making the calls. While Deputies were at the high school the atmosphere was calm and normal for a typical school day. It was possible that the phone calls were made as a “prank”, but the investigation was conducted as if there were an actual emergency (hostage situation) at the school. A “ping” was done on the cell phone and determined to be within a 300 meter radius of the McKinleyville High School.
Near area schools were notified of the events at the McKinleyville High School, including Morris School and the McKinleyville Middle School. A complete search of the McKinleyville High School determined the incident was not as reported and was determined to be a serious “prank” telephone call.
Through the investigative efforts of the Deputies, two suspects were located and determined to be responsible for the telephone calls. Two juvenile males (names withheld based on being juveniles), between the ages of 14 and 16, were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of the following violations: Threaten a crime with the intent to terrorize, annoying phone calls to 911 and false report of an emergency.
Students and/or other persons who may consider similar actions are reminded that due to historical national school shootings events and the heightened awareness to national security, there will be no leniency in arrests when investigating reports such as this.