Student in police custody after threats

Social media comments were just ‘a joke’

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published February 19, 2016

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WARREN — Within approximately two hours, Warren police and Warren Woods Public Schools officials found the individual who allegedly posted a threat against Warren Woods Tower High School on social media Feb. 16.

District Superintendent Stacey Denewith-Fici said in an email that the threat was made by a current student, who was immediately taken into police custody. A concerned citizen contacted an administrator regarding the alleged threat posted on Snapchat.

“The student is still in custody and is being charged with a 20-year felony for filing a terrorism threat,” Denewith-Fici said via email. “Due to the charges, we are not releasing the contents of the threat.”

Warren Police Sgt. Robert Eidt confirmed that the student faces a 20-year felony for allegedly making a terrorist threat. He said the female student was being held in the Macomb County Youth Home.

If students repost or pass on a threat, they can be held responsible for issuing the threat.

“It is always something we take seriously,” Eidt said. “We’re going to investigate and charge the student with the highest possible crime.”

“I think the most important thing we need students to understand is that the consequences of these types of threats are significant and can impact the rest of your life,” the superintendent said. “Being charged with a felony is not the way to get a day off of school.”

On Feb. 16, Denewith-Fici sent a letter to parents about the threat. School administrators and members of the Warren Police Department immediately investigated the threat and worked to identify the author of the post. According to the superintendent’s letter, the person responsible for the post admitted to it and said the threat was “a joke.”

“We have found no evidence to substantiate that the individual was intending or had the capacity to act on the threat,” Denewith-Fici stated. “The building is safe and secure.”

WWPS was not in session last Tuesday because of the district’s scheduled winter break Feb. 15-16. School reopened Feb. 17 without issue. As a proactive measure, School Resource Officer Tom Gurecki requested the presence of Warren police at the school Wednesday to reassure students of their safety.

“We want our parents, students, staff and community to know that we do not take any threats lightly, and a full investigation of this incident will be conducted with the Warren Police Department,” Denewith-Fici’s letter stated. “As always, anyone found guilty of issuing a threat against our students or staff may be criminally prosecuted and expelled from the district.”

In the letter, the superintendent reminded parents to talk to their children about using social media. Parents also were encouraged to notify school officials if their child reports a rumor that concerns the health and safety of students.