Incline student arrested for threatening letter; Father, a sheriff’s deputy, also investigated
A haunting copycat syndrome that’s plaguing the nation hit home last week when an Incline Village High School student – the son of a Washoe County Sheriff’s sergeant – left a note in another student’s mailbox stating he was going to kill everyone at the high school.
On Saturday, a judge signed and approved the arrest warrant for the juvenile who is being held in Wittenberg Hall on two misdemeanor charges: harassment and delivering a threatening letter.
Furthermore, the sergeant whose son was arrested, may be disciplined for mishandling the case.
On Thursday, June 4, a student in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at the high school found a typewritten note in a mailbox at the school.
The note read: “Hello to whoever the hell reads this. I plan to kill everyone in Incline High School in a total of 15 minutes before the police are notified and then commit sucidew (sic) to prove I” Also on the paper was other typewritten words saying, “There are seven levels.”
The sheriff’s office will not release the name of the 15-year-old boy because they are forbidden to identify a juvenile by state law. In addition, the sheriff’s office sergeant, the father of the juvenile, will not be identified as this would identify the juvenile, Sheriff Richard Kirkland said.
The student who found the note immediately brought the threat to the attention of the school’s administration. At the time, the sergeant, the boy’s father, was at the school teaching a class. He was shown the note and he advised the school administration personnel to contact the Washoe County Sheriff’s Incline substation to report the matter.
When the student was brought in for questioning he admitted to writing the note and said it was intended to be a joke.
The sergeant suggested the school administration handle the case “in-house.” School officials agreed to do so and the student was placed on immediate in-house suspension. This suspension was continued through Friday.
However, upon review of the matter on Friday, Lt. Jim Musick, the acting division commander for the Incline substation, ordered a criminal investigation be initiated due to the serious nature of the threats in the letter and in light of similar situations across the country where appropriate follow-up and investigation into these types of incidents did not occur.
The sheriff’s office contacted the student’s parents on Friday night and had a mutual agreement that the juvenile would surrender to the sheriff’s office.
However, when the sheriff’s office personnel attempted to serve the warrant and arrest the juvenile, his father said the juvenile and his mother were out of town. The sergeant did say that he would turn in his son when when he returned home.
The sheriff’s office is conducting a series of investigations to find out why the juvenile was not immediately available and into whether there may have been interference with this investigation.
Washoe County Sheriff Richard Kirkland said the reason it took so long for the sheriff’s office to release this information to the public was because of the time it took to investigate the matter.
Kirkland said they are treating this incident very seriously.
“With what has occurred across the county I don’t think anyone can’t treat this as anything but real,” he said. “That kind of conduct can’t be tolerated.”
Principal Mike Whellams said this is a student he would never expect this sort of behavior from.
“This is a good kid that did something really stupid,” he said. ” This kid would be on my least likely list of students to do something like this.”
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