Threat brings arrest at DHS
MINDEN – A 16-year-old Douglas High School sophomore has been charged with two counts of solicitation to commit murder after allegedly asking two classmates to kill a female student.
Appearing in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday with his parents, the suspect was ordered by Judge David Gamble to remain in custody at the county juvenile detention center and to undergo psychiatric testing.
Authorities said the boy allegedly asked two male students on Friday to help him murder a female classmate. The students immediately told school officials and the matter was turned over to authorities who arrested the teen, said Sgt. Lance Modispacher, sheriff’s department spokesman.
Gamble asked the boy if he had understood that he was not on trial but undergoing a detention hearing.The teen was visibly nervous as he replied softly, “Yes.”
The suspect is represented by Minden attorney Nathan Young, who told the judge that after speaking with the boy and his parents he believed the teen should stay in the detention center and undergo appropriate evaluations.
Gamble agreed with the recommendations and said a hearing date would be set once the psychological evaluations are done.
The incident was unusual for Douglas High School because of the nature of the alleged threats and the manner in which they were made, Modispacher said.
“Those friends who heard this kind of strange talking realized the dangers and the responsibility they had to report this,” Modispacher said. “Bless them for reporting this and giving this misguided youth the counseling he needs.”
Deputies spent Friday and Monday speaking with school officials and students involved in the incident, but the facts behind the incident were unclear to many, including parents and students.
Minutes before the detention hearing, several Douglas High School students attending court as part of a government class said they had heard a student was arrested but didn’t know why or who was arrested.
Douglas High School Principal Charlie Condron did not return telephone calls regarding the matter and the school has not released an official statement.
No weapons were found on the suspect at the time of the arrest, Modispacher said. Authorities searched the home of the teen and weapons belonging to the parents were found in a locked storage compartment.
Modispacher credited programs at the high school that involve the sheriff’s department for preventing a potential tragedy. Three years ago, the sheriff’s department received a federal government grant that allowed the district to place a deputy, Greg Shields, on school campuses.
The county and the school district also have a peer court program, which deals with bullying and harassment issues in the school, as well as general encouragement by school officials for students to report unusual circumstances.
“I think what we have in place has obviously worked because we have these students who came forward,” Modispacher said.
With events like the Columbine massacre two years ago, and other violent incidents, Douglas County has taken a proactive approach to school safety, Modispacher said.
Having Shields visit all Douglas campuses is perhaps the biggest step law enforcement and school officials have taken to ensure student safety, he added.
At first, students were not comfortable having an officer on campus, but that has changed since last year, Modispacher explained.
“As he has become a fixture there and on other campuses, the students are now more comfortable. More comfortable not only with him there, but comfortable knowing they are safe,” he said. “With the eyes and ears of the students working, and by working together, we can make safety happen. This shows it has paid off.”
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