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Updated: Gun Threat a 'Non-Credible' Rumor, Superintendent Says

After investigating the threat all night long, officer Richard Lee said, South Pasadena Police could not find a credible source for the threat.

Updated 10 a.m.: A gun threat that upped the police presence on and around campus Friday morning was a "non-credible rumor'' that stemmed from a Facebook posting Thursday night, Superintendent Joel Shapiro said Friday morning.

Standing in front of the high school, as police cruisers and motorcyle officers rolled by, Shapiro said a parent saw the student's posting about the threat of a potential shooting Friday and alerted authorities. After extensive questioning, officials found "significant inconsistencies'' in the student's story. Still, following the widely read post about the threat, school officials sent an email to all district parents alerting them to the situation. 

Shapiro would not say what, if any, consequences the student will face for posting the potential threat, one that comes on the anniversary of the Connecticut massacre, and on a day where people around the country observed a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. 

"I was shocked,'' parent Leighann Burick said outside SPHS Friday. She wondered if it was a case of a kid not realizing the magnitude of potential fallout from such a social media post. Still, it was a little nerve wracking, her daughter Misha Holtz said. 

The 11th grader wasn't scared, exactly, but it was a bit worrisome when school officials asked students to leave their backpacks in the classrooms, rather than bring them to the school-wide assembly, she said. 

Shapiro said officials opted for the precautionary safety measure so the assembly area would remain uncluttered with clearer walkways. 

South Pas junior Eddie Boyd shook his head from side to side and summed up Friday's gun threat rumor as "stupid,'' he said.

I didn't believe it. It's just people being idiotic,'' he said. 

Earlier: A threat of gun violence that would "occur sometime during the school day'' at South Pasadena High School Friday, the last day before the winter break, has thus far been deemed not credible, South Pasadena Police.

Still, the department has increased its presence on the campus, and has held over a shift of officers to continue to investigate it, Officer Richard Lee said Friday morning.

"We have additional units at the school, but after investigating this all night long, detectives have not been able to find a credible source for the threat,'' Lee said, noting "a girl said that a guy told her not to come to school Friday'' because there was going to be some kind of incident with guns.

The threat comes exactly one week after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary where a gunman shot 20 first graders, and six adults in Connecticut before taking his own life.

Lee said police are taking the threat seriously, in terms of the students' safety, but after hours of investigation detectives cannot pinpoint the source of the alleged threat, or find any evidence of its validity. 

"We're taking it seriously, but we can't ignore the rest of the city,'' Lee said. 

Police issued this alert Friday morning:

In the evening of Thursday, December 20, the South Pasadena Police Department received information from a South Pasadena High School student regarding a threat of possible gun violence to occur sometime during the school day today. The police department has investigated the threat overnight and at this point in the investigation, we lack any specific information that would suggest the threat is credible. 

The SPPD continues to work closely with the South Pasadena High School administration and school district to ensure the safety of the students which will include, but not be limited to, a heavier than normal police presence throughout the final school day before Winter Break.

Patch will continue to update as details become available. 

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henk friezer December 21, 2012 at 09:50 PM
It is unfortunate that a week after the tragedy in Connecticut that these crazies come out of the woodwork by making these threats. What I find likewise unfortunate is that by publicizing these incidents it gives these individuals a sense of empowerment because by reporting it they feel they get a sense of credence for their actions. I feel that the best course of action is not to give them what they really want,publicity. Though the media has an obligation to keep a community apprised of events in their community, I think burying it inside a paper, or a minor announcement would suffice. Thus making it a non event, this would take away (excuse the pun) their ammunition and sense of power.
J McNally December 21, 2012 at 11:24 PM
So cops are all over the place, administrators are standing on opposite street corners, ushering kids in, the police send out a PUBLIC nixle alert and reporters should bury it inside or drop it to the bottom of the website? Yeah, that's reasonable.

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