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Originally published October 2, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Page modified October 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM

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Former student suspected in 2 online threats to schools is arrested

The 16-year-old former student suspected of posting an online threat to open fire at Skyline High School is also suspected of making a similar threat against a Lynnwood high school.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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SAMMAMISH — A 16-year-old former student suspected of posting an online threat to open fire at Skyline High School, targeting "jocks" and wealthy teens in a suicide attack, was arrested at his Edmonds home on Tuesday morning.

The boy, who attended the Issaquah School District school between September 2010 and November 2011, is also suspected of posting a similar cyber threat in April against students at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan.

The teen was booked into the King County Youth Service Center for investigation of cyberstalking and harassment. He has not been charged.

The teen was emergency expelled from his current school, Edmonds-Woodway High School, on Tuesday, said DJ Jakala, spokeswoman for the Edmonds School District. Meadowdale High is also in the Edmonds School District.

Jakala said that the expulsion was "in the best interest of our student body."

The anonymous threat against Skyline High appeared on 4chan.org, an Internet bulletin board, and was later reposted on Facebook. On the night of Sept. 19, King County 911 dispatchers received more than 270 phone calls from across the country alerting authorities to the Internet posting.

The poster wrote, "I am going to open fire on the people in the commons in the morning until I am either taken down by our school's police officer, or until I run out of mags." The poster said the primary shooting targets would be "jocks" and people who "use their wealth and social status to act superior to others."

The poster said he intended to bring his father's Erma — a German firearms manufacturer — submachine gun to the school. The post included a photo of an automatic weapon, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Skyline High, with an enrollment of about 2,000 students, was closed on Sept. 20 because of the threat. Nearby Eastside Catholic High School was closed the following day.

The sheriff's Major Crimes Unit, along with the FBI's Cyber Crimes Unit, traced the IP address where the threat originated but were led to a proxy server in Sweden. At that point the investigation hit a dead end, the Sheriff's Office said.

But authorities then received tips that led them to the suspect.

Sammamish Police Officer Alana Hall, the school-resource officer at Skyline, said a few students suggested that the former student could be behind the threat.

Hall said she remembers the suspect "as a teenage boy who made poor choices at times."

Sammamish police searched the boy's Edmonds home on Sept. 25 and found a photo of the Erma submachine gun used in the online threat on his computer, said Sammamish Police Chief Nate Elledge.

"As far as I know there were no weapons recovered in the home," said Elledge.

Skyline Principal Lisa Hechtman said that she doesn't know of any reports the teen was bullied when he was a student at the school.

A spokeswoman for the Lynnwood Police Department said that their detectives are working with Sammamish Police and are continuing to investigate the Meadowdale High threat. The Lynnwood school was closed April 13 after the threat.

"This is not a teenage prank. This is not a joke," Strachan said Tuesday during a news conference to announce the arrest. "Don't mess with the safety of our kids. We take it very, very seriously."

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from Times archives.

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