Anchor Bay student arrested in social media threat

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

St. Clair County Sheriff’s officials arrested an Anchor Bay High School student they allege recently posted a threatening picture and tweet on his Twitter account.

The district canceled classes Wednesday as a result of the alleged threat.

Joe McDonald, Anchor Bay director of secondary education, learned about the tweet from a parent, sheriff’s officials said. The post later determined to allegedly have been posted by a 15-year-old student “showed a picture of the suspect holding what appeared to be a sawed off shotgun, with a caption ‘I can’t wait for school today,’ ” sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

Larry Fajardo, a sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer at Anchor Bay, learned about the tweet Tuesday afternoon. An investigation was immediately initiated.

“As is the case with all threats, they are taken seriously and investigated by local law enforcement,” said Anchor Bay Schools Superintendent Leonard Woodside.

St. Clair authorities as well as Macomb County Sheriff’s deputies went to the teen’s home on 27 Mile Road in Lenox Township on Tuesday but found a locked cattle gate at the driveway entrance and failed to reach the father on his phone, according to the release. They then set up surveillance at the residence.

Early Wednesday, a vehicle pulled out of the driveway and headed east. St. Clair sheriff’s deputies stopped the driver on County Line Road at 26 Mile. Inside they found the Anchor Bay student, his brother and their father.

The 15-year-old was taken into custody and to the Macomb County Juvenile Detention Center. Meanwhile, his father and brother were brought back to their home, where a search warrant was executed.

There, authorities seized several long guns, including an airsoft one the teen claimed he held in the tweeted picture, the sheriff’s office said.

With the severity of the online threat and being unable to interview the Anchor Bay student before the school day started, the district canceled classes for Wednesday, Woodside said.

“I would like to stress to parents to share with their children the proper use of social media,” Woodside said. “There is no place for such posts, even if the person posting says they were just joking and didn’t plan to harm anyone.”

Anchor Bay schools are expected to reopen Thursday.

“Thankfully, the incident ended without any injuries or worse,” said St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon.