Police: 12-Year-Old Responsible for Bomb Threats

A 12-year-old has been identified as the person who emailed bomb threats to three Silver Spring schools.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said the 12-year-old who sent seven bomb threats to Maryland schools was aware that a state law would prevent authorities from charging him. Under Maryland’s Juvenile Justice Reform Act, enacted last year, anyone under the age of 13 cannot be charged with a crime unless it’s a “crime of violence.”

The suspect admitted emailing threats to Montgomery Blair High School on Oct. 13, 16, and 17, as well as Monday and Tuesday, Jones said. Additionally, the suspect admitted to e-mailing bomb threats to Oak View Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School on Oct. 15.

Montgomery County Public Schools’ IT staff assisted in identifying the suspect, Jones said.

The full text of Chief Jones’ statement is below:

The person responsible for multiple bomb threats targeting Montgomery Blair High School and Oak View Elementary School has been identified.

On October 13,16, 17, 23 and 24, Montgomery County Public Schools received threats sent via email to Montgomery Blair High School. Similarly, on October 15, Oak View Elementary School and Silver Spring International School were also targeted with a separate email threat. This reckless and dangerous behavior posed a direct threat to the safety and well-being of our schools and students.

Detectives from the 3rd District Investigative Section, with the assistance of Montgomery County Public Schools IT staff, identified a 12-year-old as the individual responsible for all seven bomb threats. Detectives spoke with the individual, who admitted responsibility, however, in the state of Maryland, children under the age of 13 can only be charged with offenses that constitute a “crime of violence.”

It is disheartening to accept that the individual responsible for disrupting the educational process and instilling fear in our community was well aware of the legal limitations surrounding their age. They understood that they could not be charged under current Maryland statutes.

In addition to the fear and chaos these threats caused, it is important to acknowledge the significant financial and operational burden each incident placed on our department. Dispatching officers and K-9 units to investigate these threats, especially when our resources are already stretched thin, diverted our personnel away from other pressing calls for service. This diversion of resources is unacceptable, and it jeopardizes the safety of our community.

I commend the hard work and dedication of the 3rd District detectives and Montgomery County Public Schools staff in their efforts to identify and locate the young person responsible for these crimes.

The safety of our community remains our foremost priority, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect and serve our residents.

Photo: G. Edward Johnson, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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