Renton police entered Nelsen Middle School on Dec. 14 after a prank phone call alleged of a firearms threat in the school. (Courtesy of the Renton Police Department.)

Renton police entered Nelsen Middle School on Dec. 14 after a prank phone call alleged of a firearms threat in the school. (Courtesy of the Renton Police Department.)

Renton Police arrest teen after prank leads to school shutdowns

District closed Nelsen Middle School, Renton High School and Renton Academy campuses Friday, Dec. 15.

The Renton School District shut down three campuses Friday, Dec. 15, after a prank phone call alleging a firearms threat and online threats targeted two schools the day prior.

The district closed Nelsen Middle School, Renton High School and Renton Academy campuses Friday after police received a prank phone call regarding a firearms threat at Nelsen Middle School early Thursday, Dec. 14, and additional online threats against Nelsen and Renton High School on Thursday evening.

Renton police arrested a 14-year-old Renton boy, whom investigators believe serves as the primary suspect in the threats.

According to the Renton Police Department, Valley SWAT served a warrant and arrested the teenager the morning of Dec. 15 after Renton investigators located and identified the suspect. The 14-year-old suspect is not a student in the Renton School District.

Ongoing investigation into the threats include whether any additional suspects were involved, according to Meeghan Black, spokesperson for the police department.

According to the department, the Thursday morning prank phone call at Nelsen Middle School resulted in a lockdown and “overwhelming” police response after the caller stated there was someone with a gun in the school.

Police received the first call for the incident at approximately 11:03 a.m., according to the department. The department had previously stationed officers near the school all day as a result of rumors circulating regarding a threat.

Officers entered the room the caller said the gunman was in and didn’t find any suspect nor weapon as additional callers stated they never saw a gun nor heard gunshots, according to the department. Officers cleared the school and determined the report to be a prank phone call.

Thursday evening, Renton police discovered online threats against Nelsen Middle School and Renton High School.

The online threats served as credible enough to cause alarm, Black stated in an email.

“We notified the Renton School District and they decided to close those schools and Renton Academy due to its proximity to Nelsen,” Black stated.

The Renton School District stated they closed the three campuses Friday “out of an abundance of caution” and to provide Renton police time to conduct an investigation.

The Renton Police Department declined to disclose the language of the threats found online.

“They indicated the suspect was going to cause harm at the school,” Black said.

The district plans to return the three schools to regular hours on Monday morning, according to the district’s website.

“We will send another communication to families no later than Sunday with an update about Monday’s schedule at the three affected schools,” the district’s website stated.

Police have booked the 14-year-old boy into the King County Youth Detention Center.


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