Crisis counselors at Poway school after shooting threat

POWAY, Calif. — Crisis counselors and extra staff were expected to be at Twin Peaks Middle School Monday to help students cope with their feelings about a 12-year-old boy’s threat to open fire on the Poway campus, specifically to kill 23 students and a teacher.

The boy was taken into custody and then to a hospital for treatment and evaluation on Saturday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

On Friday night, the boy sent an email to a Twin Peaks administrator, saying a teacher, whose name was withheld, and 23 students would be shot, sheriff’s officials said. He also allegedly made reference to 3,000 rounds of ammunition and numerous firearms.

Deputies learned of the email Saturday morning and worked with school district officials and a multi-agency technology-related crimes task force to find the source, sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Ross said.

They identified the boy and went to his home to serve a search warrant around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Several computers and numerous rifles and handguns were seized, sheriff’s officials said.

Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Donahue told reporters at a news conference that the five rifles, three shotguns and three handguns had been locked up at the time the search warrant was served. The child did not have access to the weapons, he said.

“Obviously, this situation is both saddening and disturbing,” Poway Unified School District Superintendent John Collins said in a statement. “However, it is critical that all touched by this threat understand that the system worked. An anonymous threat was made, identified and with multiple agencies working together, the threat was averted.”

Sheriff’s officials said the case would be submitted to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for review and evaluation.

“There is no evidence to suggest anyone else was involved in making the threats and it is believed to be an isolated incident,” Ross said.

“Making a terrorist threat is a felony in the state of California,” Ross said. “The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Poway Unified School District take all threats to school safety seriously and will continue to thoroughly investigate all such threats.”

Sheriff’s officials said students who hear threats of violence or potential violence should contact a school resource officer or call the Crime Stoppers Students Speaking Out Tip Line at (888) 580-8477, or the sheriff’s department at (858) 565-5200.