'Shooting up Northeast tomorrow': 16-year-old arrested for Snapchat threat to Maryland school, police say

A 16-year-old Glen Burnie boy was arrested and charged as a juvenile with threats of mass violence and disturbing school operations after threatening on social media to commit a shooting at Northeast High School in Pasadena on Monday, Anne Arundel County police said.

The Snapchat photo showed a hand holding the ammunition magazine of a gun with the caption “Shooting up Northeast tomorrow” and a racial epithet, police confirmed. The boy claimed it was “a bad joke,” police said.


The suspect’s name was not released. He has no association with the school, police said.

The boy posted the photo about 10:30 p.m. and deleted it moments later, police said. But a screengrab quickly circulated, setting off a late-night scramble by parents, police and school officials to identify the person who posted it, on the same day a man killed 26 people and injured another 20 in a mass shooting at a church in a small town in Texas, Anne Arundel County Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said Monday.


“I continue to be astounded that anyone could think that anything like this, in the society in which we live at this point, is an acceptable joke,” Mosier said. “Combined with what happened yesterday with the tragedy in Texas, you can’t blame parents for being afraid.”

Officers determined the boy “did not have the means to carry out his threat,” and there is no danger to the school, students or employees, Anne Arundel County Police said. Still, police officers were posted at the school Monday to provide “a visible presence,” the department said.

Northeast High Principal Jason Williams sent out an email update to parents about 1 a.m. “to give them as much information as we had at that point,” Mosier said. The principal then sent a second email sometime around 6 a.m. with further details, he said.

The investigation was complicated by the fact that the boy who posted the threat used another teenager’s photo — with the other teen’s name still included in the post, police said. Police confirmed that the name on the photo circulating Monday was not the name of the boy responsible for the threat.

“Somebody else posted it, and [the suspect] tagged on his comments,” police spokesman Marc Limansky said.

The photo of the gun magazine was originally posted to Snapchat without any text from Western Maryland, where the boy who took the photo was target shooting with his father, said the father, who requested anonymity for himself and his son out of fear for his son’s safety. Their family has hunted responsibly for generations, he said.

“Within minutes, the other boy screenshotted it and added the text,” the father said.

When the boy who made the initial post saw his photo re-posted with the threat added to it, he showed it to his father and immediately called the other boy to demand he take it down, his father said.

By then, it was too late. Others quickly screen-grabbed the suspect’s threat, and the boy who initially shared the photo began getting threats from people assuming he’d posted the threat. Late Sunday night, the boy who initially posted the photo got a visit from police, his father said.

“The worst part of this for me is my son is feeling the fallout of it for doing nothing more than taking a picture while we were target shooting,” he said. “I saw this picture. My son added no text, no threats.”

The parents of the boy who first posted the photo kept him home from school Monday out of fear for his safety.

Mosier praised the Police Department’s quick response, saying it took authorities only about two hours to identify the correct suspect and take him into custody.


“When your first information is 10:30 at night, that’s incredible work,” he said. “Very thankfully someone didn’t think it was too late to alert us.”

Parents should have conversations with their children about appropriate behavior on social media, Limansky said.

“While the initial intent may be as a joke or prank, they’re not perceived as such by the public and by the school community,” he said. “This is not funny at all. It’s not a joking matter. It disrupts school activities, it creates anxiety, it puts people in fear.”

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