April 17, 2005 in City

Teen arrested over alleged threat

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A former Ferris High School student is under arrest after allegedly threatening to go to the school and kill people if his friend, who was arrested last month in connection with an attempted murder case, is given a lengthy prison term.

The 15-year-old was booked into Juvenile Detention on a felony count of harassment. He is friends with Jacob Carr, 14, who is accused of taking a gun to Ferris High School on March 24 with the intention of killing his former teacher, Michelle Klein-Coles, and himself. He faces a count of first-degree attempted murder.

On Thursday, the 15-year-old friend was playing an Xbox video game over the Internet with two Ferris High School students, said police spokesman Dick Cottam. The three, who also were conversing by voice over the Internet, talked about Carr, and the 15-year-old said he would go to the school and kill people if Carr was given a long sentence, Cottam said. He also threatened to kill one of the teenagers with whom he was playing the Xbox game, Cottam said.

Although the teenager had no weapons with him when police arrived at his South Hill home on Friday, authorities said they were unwilling to take chances.

“It’s kind of like going into the airport and kidding about a bomb. You have to take it seriously,” Cottam said. “There was a threat made before, and the kid (Carr) went on the campus with a loaded gun.”

Carr was suspended from Ferris in January after he wrote an e-mail to Klein-Coles that said “your house, all your belongings and you will be burned to the ground.” He pleaded guilty in February in juvenile court to first-degree harassment for sending the message. He was attending Shadle Park High School when he was arrested

The 15-year-old, who was not named by police, is a former Ferris student who has been attending classes at another school. It was unclear Saturday where the teen is enrolled and the reason why he is no longer at Ferris.

Police began investigating the Xbox conversation after they were informed by Ferris officials on Friday.

Toward the end of the school day Friday, one of the two Ferris students who were talking online with the teen told a school official about the conversation, Ferris Principal Erik Ohlund said. Both students were interviewed by the school and police were called.

“We alerted the police that we had a situation that warranted them looking into,” Ohlund said. “We obviously take any of that type of threat very seriously. We responded, we think, as quickly as we could.”

Ohlund said that he e-mailed the staff soon after the end of the school day, and school officials called teachers at home to make sure they would see the message as soon as possible.

The e-mail warned staff members that the 15-year-old is not allowed on the Ferris campus, and told them to contact administrators or security immediately if he’s seen there, Ohlund said.

Ronnie Rae, the attorney representing Carr, said if the allegations are true, what the 15-year-old needs is counseling and help, not time behind bars.

“If they’re going to prosecute every kid for saying, ‘I could just kill you,’ when they’re playing video games like that, they’re going to fill up juvenile detention very quickly,” Rae said. “You’ve got to be very careful when you start handing felonies out to children. Their whole lives are at stake.”

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