FYI – My boys go to Red Mountain and I was there today.
By Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team
Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:41 PM
A week before the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut, a 16-year-old Mesa girl told others that she was planning to blow up Red Mountain High School and shoot her peers, authorities said Thursday.
The owner of a transgender You Tube channel in Canada where the threats were posted, the Toronto Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office all intervened before the girl put any dark plans into action.
Acting on information from Toronto, sheriff’s detectives took the 16-year-old into custody early Thursday morning on suspicion of threatening and intimidating.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the girl had claimed that it would be “super easy” to blow up Red Mountain High, where she served as a teacher’s helper.
He said three guns were found inside the girl’s home, although the girl’s father had put trigger locks on the weapons and stored them in a gun safe after he became concerned about some of his daughter’s statements.
The girl’s parents told detectives that she has a “history of mental health issues,’’ but Arpaio declined to elaborate.
“The smoke was there; fortunately, we prevented a fire,” the sheriff said. “When you look at what happened in Connecticut, it seems to follow the same trend.”
No explosives were found in the home, but Arpaio said it is important for police to intervene and prevent crime from happening when possible.
He said it is impossible to say whether the girl would have acted but that he was concerned the Newtown, Conn., massacre might set her off.
“If this went without some intervention, who knows what would happen two years from now, a year from now or next week,’’ he said.
The Sheriff’s Office did not release the girl’s name.
The potential threat was posted three days earlier on the transgender You Tube channel as part of an angry, detailed diatrabe. It shook the channel’s owner, who was praised by Arpaio for notifying Toronto police.
In the post, the girl said, “I now literally have a plan of seriously hurting … killing … murdering people in my high school,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The threats alluded to blowing up the school and shooting people from the other side of a fence, Arpaio said.