Fremont high school student threatened gun violence against school employee, police say

Fremont police say they arrested a 17-year-old high school student for threatening gun violence against a school employee on social media and for a hate crime.

The student, a minor, was booked into a juvenile hall on Wednesday on suspicion of felony terrorist threats after Fremont police received an alert around 9:45 a.m. from American High School staff that a student was threatening on social media, the Fremont Police Department said. .

Police did not detail specific social media threats, but said the student made “direct threats of gun violence against the school employee” and “also made comments about the violence additional army committed at an unnamed high school”. The messages also included “numerous racial epithets,” which sparked the hate crime investigation, police said.

School resource officers identified the student they believe was making the social media posts, police said. Police contacted the student and his family “at a location away from the school” and arrested him and booked him into a juvenile hall.

Police served a search warrant at his home, where authorities said they recovered “extensive pieces of evidence”, but did not reveal the type of evidence. Police did not find a firearm, authorities said.

Police said that “at that time” they believe the arrested student was the only student who threatened gun violence. The investigation is ongoing and other people may be involved, they said.

“While many subjects were involved in this conversation, the student who was arrested made direct threats of gun violence against the school employee,” Fremont police said. “All other students involved have been identified and are currently being cared for by (Fremont Unified School District) staff.”

Fremont’s arrest comes a day after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The mass shooting prompted Bay Area Police Departments to increase patrols around local schools this week out of an abundance of caution.

In a report to the Fremont Unified School District community, Superintendent CJ Cammack said screenshots of “hate speech and specific threats of violence” were circulating and that the messages were “exchanged among a small group of our students at the ‘American High School’. Cammack said the posts “do not reflect the standard of excellence and high character demonstrated” in high school or the school district.

“The district takes this matter very seriously and we will assign appropriate and authorized consequences under the law and related education code,” Cammack said, adding that the school district is cooperating with the police investigation. “Hate speech and threats of violence strike at the heart of the diverse community we celebrate at FUSD. These messages dishonor our entire school community and have a more direct impact on specific students and staff. »

Cammack said students in the district “have witnessed more hate and violence than any of us can fully process,” and pointed out school district resources the school community in light of the mass shooting in Texas. He also urged the school community to take advantage of counseling opportunities and report suspicious activity to police and school administrators.

“Please take the time to talk to your student about not actively or passively participating in racist, violent and homophobic messages. Such actions will not be tolerated or accepted,” Cammack said. “Please emphasize the importance of making right choices, the potential consequences for students who engage in inappropriate and/or dangerous conduct, and the lasting impact such acts (or inaction in the face of such acts) may have on their lives and the lives of others .”

Fremont Police Chief Sean Washington said he was proud of school resource officers and detectives who took “immediate action upon receiving” information about the threats to the employee and the crime of hate.

“I am also grateful to community members and parents who have come forward, and to students who have informed their parents of the concerning messages,” Washington said. “The Fremont Police Department is committed to the safety of our community and our schools.”

Washington added that “Given recent events, I want to assure the public that school safety is our top priority.” He said he ordered the police department to conduct more patrol checks “to all school campuses, including specialty unit resources.”

Anyone with information about this case should contact the school resource officer, Sergeant Calvin Tang, at 510-790-6743 or by email. [email protected]. Those who wish to remain anonymous can send a tip to text a tip by typing “TIP FREMONTPD” followed by the tip to 888777.

Lauren Hernández (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @ByLHernandez

Martha K. Merrill