West Valley HS students could face charges for active shooter prank
WEST VALLEY, Wash. — A group of West Valley High School students could face criminal charges for pranking their classmate into thinking there was an active shooter situation on campus, according to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, deputies said the student called 911 to report that he was part of a group chat that referenced an active shooter at school and that he was concerned. This prompted all West Valley schools to go on lockdown while authorities investigated.
The sheriff”s office responded along with Yakima police, Yakima County Fire and Rescue, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and ALS Ambulance. Law enforcement searched the high school and determined that there was no evidence of a gunman on campus.
After further investigation, deputes learned that the student who called 911 was at home when he received several prank texts talking about gunfire from the school library and students hiding in the bathroom.
In a news release, deputies said the group of involved students “did not think of the consequences of the prank.”
The investigation is ongoing. Once completed, charges may be filed with the Yakima County Prosecutors Office.
The sheriff’s office encourages all parents to discuss proper use of social media with their children.
West Valley School District and all agencies involved have practiced scenarios over the past school year dealing with threats. This preparation assisted in the quick response of all first responders and school administration and staff.