LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A former Lakewood High School student is suspected of making a threat after the social media company Snapchat alerted the FBI.
Police arrested a 21-year-old in connection with a gun threat made against Lakewood High School over the weekend. The individual still lives in Lakewood, according to Captain Gary Stone.
“Principal Walters sent out a phone call to all of the parents, a prerecorded message just giving a description of what happened and that the FBI was involved and how they took care of it and there was no need to even worry and have our kids go to school today,” said Charlotte Miller, whose daughter is in her sophomore year at the school.
The FBI learned of the threat on Saturday after receiving a tip from Snapchat, a popular social media application that allows the user to share photos and videos on a “story” for 24 hours.
“Social media is becoming more and more prevalent in the investigations we conduct,” Stone said. “They can reach quite a bit more people, much quicker, with much wider impact than before.”
Lakewood police continued working with Snapchat to get vital information, including the suspect’s name and address. He was located at a Taco Bell on Detroit Avenue.
“The indication was there was a problem with a student or students at the school. The person indicating he was going to bring a gun to the school on Monday,” Stone said. He said the high school has had similar threats made against it before.
“This has occurred a few times in the past, and each time we’ve solved it.”
“I think it’s a comfort as a parent because as a parent you try and monitor your own child’s but just because you’re monitoring it doesn’t mean that things aren’t slipping through the cracks,” Miller said.
Lakewood City School District Superintendent Michael Barnes thanked the Lakewood Police Department for their efforts in a statement:
“District officials were alerted early today that on Saturday Snapchat alerted the FBI that a threat had been made against Lakewood High students. The FBI immediately contacted the Lakewood Police Department. The Police were able to trace the threat to an adult former Lakewood High student, who is now in custody. Thanks to the Lakewood Police Department for their outstanding work. Parents and students, it is critical that if you see or hear something, you say something. We must all work together to keep our students and staff safe.”
Stone said the man has not been charged.