Preteen Charged In Threat That Closed Melvindale Schools

WWJ News
September 19, 2019 - 4:44 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A Downriver preteen has been charged in connection with a shooting threat made on social media.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Thursday she has charged a 12-year-old boy from Melvindale in connection with threats made to Strong Middle School.

The entire Melvindale-Northern Allen Park School District was closed Monday through Wednesday after the threat, referencing a planned shooting, was made Sunday night.

An investigation by Melvindale police then led to the arrest of the suspect, whose name will not be released due to his age.

The boy has been charged as a juvenile with one count of Threat to Commit an Act of Violence against the School, Employees or students; and one count of Malicious Use of a Telecommunication Device.

Both charges are misdemeanors in the adult system, Worthy said; and the child, if convicted will be sentenced as a juvenile.

Bond was set at $7,500 during a hearing at the Juvenile Detention Facility in Detroit on Thursday, and a pretrial hearing before Referee Sean Kerman on Sept. 27.

In a letter sent to all Wayne County Schools to distribute yo parents and guardians, Worthy is asking that they speak to their school-age children about the "lifelong consequences" that can come from making a threat.

"My office takes these cases extremely seriously," Worthy writes, "not only only because of the need to keep your child and the community safe, but also because of the disruption of the school environment and the significant expenditure of resources by the school and by law enforcement that even a 'prank' threat causes."

View a copy of the letter HERE.

While school was back in session in the district Thursday, some parents speaking with WWJ's Jon Hewett still have concerns.

"I think a 12-year-old would know that there's huge consequence to this," said Jodie Fitzsimmons, whose daughter attends Melvindale High School.

She questions charging the alleged culprit as a juvenile.

"It's taught in the schools," Fitzsimmons said. "They have lockdowns in the school; they practice this. This is not just something, you know, that just happened...So I don't go for excuses on that."

All students, who are urged to report any such threats, can make confidential tips to the state through an app, text message, email or the OK2Say website. Tips are screened by staff at the Michigan State Police and shared with schools and local police.