CALN – Around 7 a.m. Wednesday, school officials learned of a widespread message on social media (Snapchat) that a shooting was to take place at Coatesville Area High School. As a result, all students and staff were transferred to Scott High School. In addition, the Chester County Intermediate Unit, which is directly adjacent to the school district campus, canceled classes that day.
The investigation led to interviews with many students from both the Cotsville County School (CASD) and the Chester County Intermediate Office (CCIU). Investigators learned that a message in a group chat was shared by a specific Snapchat user. As investigators worked to identify the person associated with the account, at about 1:30 p.m., investigators learned of a second message sent in the same group chat alleging that the bombs were planted in the Cotsville High School building and that the bombs would explode when they entered students.
On Wednesday night, the Pennsylvania State Police with K9 explosives conducted a cleanup of CASD Senior High, 9-10 Center and CCIU Learning Center. No evidence of explosives was found. The CASD and CCIU have determined that schools will be open for classes on Thursday.
Cologne city police investigators have identified the source of the threat of shooting and explosion in a 16-year-old CCIU student. The juvenile was charged with terrorist threats (felony), threat of using weapons of mass destruction (felony) and criminal use of communications (offense), and he was placed in a juvenile detention center in Chester County.
The Cologne City Police Department is once again taking this opportunity to remind society of the importance of responsible use of social media by all users, adults and children. Parents are strongly encouraged to use this as a learning moment with their children. Threats, especially to schools, law enforcement will never be treated lightly or as a “joke”. If you see publications that relate, for example, in this case of school violence, save the image or text and immediately notify the authorities instead of re-posting on social media. The possibility of prompt notification to the authorities is to call 911 or report to the Safe2Say platform, which is monitored 24/7. Inquiries in police departments are often not monitored around the clock and without days off and are designed to provide clues about criminal activity that does not pose an immediate threat to public safety.