North Raleigh News

Police: Former Heritage Middle student made threat to high school

A former Heritage Middle School student who now lives in Florida posted a threat on Twitter that led to an hours-long lockdown at Heritage High School in Wake Forest on Wednesday morning, according to a police spokesman.

A 14-year-old boy in Pinellas County, Fla., tweeted Tuesday night that he was “going to shoot up Heritage High,” said Wake Forest police spokesman Bill Crabtree. The tweet, in which the Wake County school system was tagged, has been deleted.

Police did not identify the teen because of his age. It’s unclear when the boy stopped attending Heritage Middle and moved to Florida.

Authorities in Pinella County will continue the investigation and determine whether charges will be filed.

School officials notified Wake Forest police of the threat at 8:24 a.m. Wednesday, Crabtree said. Police spent hours at the school on Forestville Road and did not find an intruder.

“Police were trying to determine exactly what happened and whether there was an immediate threat or threat of any kind,” Crabtree said.

Heritage High was placed on a “code red” lockdown, which indicated an immediate threat. Heritage middle and elementary schools were placed on a “code yellow” lockdown because of their proximity to the high school.

By 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, Heritage High’s lockdown was downgraded to “code yellow” and was transitioning to “code green,” which means there is no threat.

No students were in danger at any point, according to Wake County schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten.

The school system takes all threats seriously and doesn’t assume that any threat received through social media is a joke, Luten said.

Every threat, even an implied threat on Twitter, is investigated as if it is real, she said.

The school system has an active Twitter account in which staff members regularly interact with students.

Although the school system decides if a school will be on lockdown, police decide if the threat is real.

Before the rise of social media, it was simpler to figure out what was a real threat, Luten said. The only people who could communicate a threat were typically part of the school community and could be taken out of class or located on the school’s campus.