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Snapchat threat directed at Catonsville High School 'not credible,' Baltimore County police say

Catonsville High School Principal Matthew Ames, pictured in 2015, sent a letter attached to an email to parents Wednesday morning about an unspecified threat that police deemed "not credible."
Catonsville High School Principal Matthew Ames, pictured in 2015, sent a letter attached to an email to parents Wednesday morning about an unspecified threat that police deemed "not credible." (BSMG file)

Baltimore County Police deemed a threat made against Catonsville High School on Tuesday night “not credible,” according to a letter emailed from Principal Matthew Ames to parents Wednesday morning.

Baltimore County Police Department spokesman Shawn Vinson said an individual threatened to bring a gun to school on Snapchat, a mobile social media platform.

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The letter says the threat was “immediately reported” to county police, the school resource office and the county’s Office of School Safety and Climate. Police said a call reporting the threat came at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Vinson said the source of the threat had been identified, but he did not know if charges would be brought. Vinson said patrol and investigative units “coordinated information and conducted an investigation,” but did not elaborate on the nature of that work. Officers were able to identify the person responsible for the threat and determine it was not a credible threat, Vinson said.

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In his letter, Ames thanked the students, staff and families “that brought the threat to our attention” Tuesday night. While the letter does not detail where the threat originated or whether it targeted individuals, groups or the school in general, the letter does “encourage parents to monitor their children’s social media activity.”

Ames did not respond to a request for comment.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring that our school remains a safe and secure learning environment for our children,” Ames said in the letter.

Sarah Atkinson, a spokeswoman for the Catonsville High School PTSA, said the letter was “unsettling,” but that she wouldn’t let it make her “freak out or anything like that.”

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“I think [the school does] a good job of keeping us posted on what’s going on, I appreciate that,” she said.

Brandon Oland, a spokesman for Baltimore County Public Schools, said he did not have any more information immediately available than what was included in the letter.

This story has been updated.

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