Police Arrest 16-Year-Old Who Threatened to ‘Shoot Up the School’

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon.

Methuen Police have arrested a juvenile male in connection to a threat made Monday against Methuen High School.

According to a statement released Wednesday, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Monday, Methuen Police received a report that a 16-year-old male student at Methuen High School made a threat to another student saying he was going to “shoot up the school” the following day. Police responded to two residential locations that the suspect had access to, and a search was conducted at both locations. Items related to the threats were recovered from one of the residences.

“Apparently, the suspect had been contemplating committing a violent act for some time,” Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said. The Valley Patriot is reporting sources at the high school said that the student admitted he had attempted suicide the night before and made threats to other students.

School department sources said police found “disturbing” items at the student’s home, including tactical gear, fake weapons and other items that glorified Columbine.” Columbine High School was the site of a mass-school shooting in Colorado in 1999.

Methuen School Superintendent Judy Scannell said that the administration acted swiftly and appropriately when contacted by police and conducted their own internal investigation. Because of Massachusetts state laws protecting the identity of minor students, Scannell would not say if the student was expelled or suspended.

Police said the department did not believe the school, faculty, staff or students were in danger at any time and there is currently no danger to the community.

The suspect was transported to a local hospital for treatment and mental evaluation, police said. The juvenile male was subsequently arrested and charged with threats concerning the location of dangerous items, threats to commit a crime (murder) and unlawful possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card. He was due to be arraigned in juvenile session at Lawrence District Court.

“I commend the officers, detectives and members of the school staff for a quick response and handling this situation in a matter of hours after it unfolded,” Solomon said. “I would also like to acknowledge the courage of the student who came forward to police and provided vital information that may have prevented a dangerous situation.”