WEST NEWBURY — West Newbury Police Chief Jeffrey Durand, Merrimac Police Chief Eric M. Shears and Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent Justin Bartholomew report that, after a thorough investigation overnight into reports of threatening social media posts made in the past 24 hours, a suspect has been arrested and now faces a felony charge.
A JUVENILE MALE, AGE 15, OF WEST NEWBURY has been arrested and charged with Threat of Dangerous Items to Disrupt a School, Public Building, or Transport. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 269, § 14, a felony)
Rumors started to circulate this week that this juvenile had made threats over social media, however no direct report was made, and no direct evidence of a threatening social media post was found by the West Newbury Police Department.
However, last evening, numerous students and school families in Merrimac and West Newbury came forward with information about new posts, allegedly made by the suspect, in which he makes threats to commit a violent act at the school. The suspect is a sophomore at Pentucket Regional High School. The police departments worked together throughout the night and, after an investigation and with the assistance of the Essex District Attorney’s Office, West Newbury Police today received and executed an arrest warrant.
The school district has worked cooperatively with the police departments throughout this incident. The school district has taken its own action against the suspect, consistent with its code of student conduct.
The police chiefs and Superintendent Bartholomew offer their praise for those who brought forward information leading to this arrest.
“Our community is our eyes and ears, and this case exemplifies the principle of ‘if you see something, say something,'” Chief Durand said. “In this situation, members our community were not willing to tolerate threats against their high school, and they came forward to police.”
No weapons were found during the arrest of the suspect. Police do not believe there is any active danger to the school community, however out of an abundance of caution, the West Newbury Police will have an increased police presence at the high school in on Wednesday. Wednesday is the first day of school for students since Nov. 8.
Anyone with further information should contact the West Newbury Police Department at 978-363-1212. Any family with questions or concerns may contact the police department or Superintendent Bartholomew’s office at 978-363-2280.
The suspect will face arraignment in Newburyport Juvenile Court.
These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.