By Alexander Popp and Frank Reddy
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two West Forsyth High School students for allegedly making terroristic threats.
The first student, a 16-year-old male, was arrested early Thursday morning. The second student, a 15-year-old male was arrested late Thursday afternoon.
A Facebook post from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning stated the agency was “notified by a concerned parent of a potential social media post and statements by a local student which depicted a firearm and a potential threat of violence.”
The post stated that after interviews with students and parents, the first suspect was identified and located.
According to the sheriff’s office, after the suspect and his parents were interviewed by detectives with the agency’s major crimes unit, the 16-year-old was arrested in his home at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday and charged with one count of terroristic threats and acts.
Law enforcement was on campus at West Forsyth High School, into the early afternoon hours after continued threats of violence surfaced on Twitter.
According to Cpl. Doug Rainwater of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the second suspect, a 15-year-old male was identified by the social media platform Twitter after they complied with a search warrant from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Rainwater said that the 15-year-old was arrested at his South Forsyth home at about 4 p.m. Thursday.
Rainwater said the the suspects were not working together, and that no weapon was found readily available to either suspect at the time of their arrests.
“[The social media rumors] were created this morning probably by a teenager to play into the fear taking place right now among parents. We’re very thankful that all of these citizens continue to ‘see something, say something,” Rainwater said.
Due to the age of the suspects, they have been turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice and taken to a youth detention center.
The sheriff’s office has received several reports of suspicious activity this week. All were fully investigated but none were found to be a credible threat.
“However, this situation was different and was a legitimate concern,” the post stated.
Rainwater said the increased vigilance from parents and students is exactly what the sheriff’s office needs to prevent tragedies.
“The last five days have been a good example of what the sheriff said in his letter: 'See something, say something,'” Rainwater said.
A letter that was sent out to the parents of West Forsyth High School early Thursday morning by West Forsyth Principal Karl Mercer stated that the school was notified of the threat Wednesday night, and the suspect will “not be returning to school.”
Added Mercer: “The school is safe today and we have an increased law presence on campus.”
In his letter, Mercer provided a link so that anonymous tips can be submitted in case a parent or student has a concern about a potential incident: www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/Page/635