Lead Story West Edition

Possible school threat only a hoax, Inglewood police say

INGLEWOOD — A false alarm about a school shooting spurred a chain reaction by the Inglewood Police Department and Inglewood Unified School District to beef up security at several of its school sites this week.

Police identified Monroe Middle School and Morningside High School as possible targets of a social media post that eventually turned out to be non-threatening.

But with recent school shootings in Kentucky and Florida still fresh in people’s minds, local officials were taking no chances.

The social media post was discovered Feb. 19. School officials notified police about the apparent threat. By the next school day, Inglewood police were in increased presence at the two schools to make sure nothing happened.

“The safety of our students is our top priority,” the Inglewood Unified School District said in a released statement. “We became aware of a threat to an individual student at Monroe Middle School that was posted on social media. As soon as we became aware of the situation, Inglewood Police Department and our school police worked collaboratively throughout the night to investigate the matter.

“We were notified by the Inglewood Police Department that there was no credible threat. The investigation is still ongoing. We are thankful for the quick response of the Inglewood Police Department and Inglewood School police. The safety and security of our students continues to be our top priority!”

Inglewood police were able to defuse the situation, quickly identifying the perpetrator of the social media content and others who helped pass along the message. That individual was detained by police and could be looking at criminal charges.

In the wake of the number of school shooting crises across the country, the rapid response by Inglewood Police Department and district police shows that law enforcement is in high alert regarding student safety. Thus far, there has been 18 recorded school shootings this year.

The deadly shooting sprees at Marshall County High School in Kentucky in January and the more recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and educators dead, were still on the minds of local officials.

Inglewood police moved quickly to leave no chance that No. 19 would happen on their watch. The Inglewood Police Department released a statement outlining the details of events that transpired.

The statement said the police department became aware of a potential threat at about 10 p.m. Feb. 19. The next day, “the Inglewood Police Detective Bureau identified not only the original generator of the threat but those involved in forwarding it as well. The investigation thus far does not indicate the threat to be credible,” the statement said.

“The original generator of the threat is being detained by the Inglewood Police who are in consultation with the District Attorney’s Office in an attempt to ascertain what, if any, criminal statutes have been violated.”

The police department said it would maintain a high-profile presence at the identified school sites and an increased presence throughout the school district Feb. 21.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported on another potential school threat at a continuation high school in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District in southeast Los Angeles County this week.

In that case, a student threatened to come back and “shoot up the school sometime in the next three weeks” after a teacher told him to take off his headphones.

The student’s threat was overheard by the school’s resource officer who notified school officials, who notified the sheriff’s department.

A search warrant served on the student’s house produced two AR-15 rifles, two handguns and 90 high-capacity ammunition magazines, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

The student and his older brother, who reportedly owned the weapons, were both taken into custody.