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Teen arrested in threat that closed schools

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POSTED September 12, 2013 1:05 a.m.

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (AP) — A 13-year-old boy accused of threatening to “shoot up” and “blow up” his middle school, shoot a teacher and kill himself was arrested Wednesday after the threats prompted the closure of six southwest Washington schools, police said.

The closures affected nearly 4,300 students. The schools will resume classes Thursday.

The boy “doesn’t have the means to carry out the threats he made,” Battle Ground police Lt. Roy Butler said in a telephone interview.

The student, who is enrolled at Chief Umtuch Middle School in Battle Ground, was interviewed by detectives and arrested, then released to his parents, who were cooperating with the investigation, Butler said.

Police seized the boy’s computer.

There was no evidence anyone else was involved in the threats, the lieutenant said.

Butler did not identify the boy and declined to speculate on his motive.

In an initial email sent Tuesday, the boy threatened suicide, Butler said.

In a subsequent email, “he threatened to shoot up the school, blow up the school and shoot a teacher,” the officer said, adding he did not know why a specific male teacher was named in the threat.

There were no specific threats against other students, Butler said.

The boy described how he planned to kill himself, but the officer declined to discuss those details. Police inferred that the student planned to commit suicide at the school, Butler said.

The FBI and Vancouver, Wash., police provided information that led Battle Ground detectives to the boy. Without discussing specifics, Butler said the agencies were “very useful.”

Police said their investigation will be forwarded to the Clark County juvenile prosecutor with a recommendation for charges of felony harassment.

Butler said he was not aware of any previous issues with the boy.

Chief Umtuch was closed Wednesday, as were four other schools on the same campus. All five will reopen Thursday, school district spokesman Gregg Herrington said.

Officers inspected the five public schools and nothing suspicious was found, Butler said.

The closures affected about 3,850 of the district’s nearly 13,000 students. Another 400 students in preschool through high school grades were affected at the nearby, private Firm Foundation Christian School, which closed as a precaution.

The private school will also reopen Thursday, a spokesman said.

Battle Ground is part of the Portland, Ore.-Vancouver, Wash., metro area. It has a population of about 18,000.

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