A 16-year-old boy that was taken into custody for an attempted carjacking at Pierce College Puyallup on April 6 confessed to making a bomb threat to Sumner High School earlier that week, Sumner police said last week.
An email sent from an untraceable server on April 4 that contained threatening comments to the school was received by a staff member at Sumner High School, who notified Sumner police.
Students and staff were dismissed that morning and explosive-sniffing dogs searched the premises. The school was closed the rest of the day as a precaution. Classes resumed April 5 on a normal schedule.
On April 6, Puyallup police responded to an attempted carjacking by the same teen boy at the Pierce College Puyallup campus. A King County Sheriff’s helicopter located the boy in a wooded area nearby, and he was taken into custody.
The boy, who was a junior at Sumner High School and a Running Start student at Pierce College, confessed to making the email threat to Sumner High on April 4. The case has been resolved through the Pierce County Juvenile Court system, where the teen is serving a sentence of confinement of 36 weeks.
The teen’s motivation for the threat was to avoid school, but local law enforcement took the threat seriously, said Sumner Police Chief Brad Moericke.
“Our job is to try as much as humanly possible to evaluate the seriousness of the threat,” Moericke said. “Student safety is paramount.”
Our job is to try as much as humanly possible to evaluate the seriousness of the threat. Student safety is paramount.
Brad Moericke, Sumner Police Department chief
The student had no means or intent to carry out the email threats, but both incidents occurred in an effort to avoid parent-teacher meetings, Moericke said.
Sumner School District communications director Elle Warmuth said this was the first time an early dismissal was issued due to a threat to student safety, but that the district was prepared if the situation was to occur.
“While the district, in partnership with law enforcement, did everything it possibly could to alleviate concern throughout the situation, there was naturally some fear and unrest among students and staff and families,” Warmuth said.
Both parties are glad the situation was resolved.
“We’re grateful to local law enforcement agencies for their diligence in identifying the individual,” Warmuth said on behalf of the district. “We’re extremely pleased this incident has come to a close.”
“We’ve identified the person, he’s been held accountable,” Moericke said.
It is unclear whether the student will return to either campus.