A 15-year-old Texas boy was arrested Thursday and accused of tweeting threats to shoot up his school because he had been bullied, authorities said.
The boy, who lives in Deer Park, a suburb of Houston, was arrested about 4 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) and charged with exhibition of firearms, Deer Park police said in a statement.
The boy posed as a girl in the Twitter account, Deer Park police Lt. Earl Morrison said. Beginning at about 9:15 Wednesday night, "she" began complaining of having been bullied for five years and writing that "she" was going to shoot the bullies and kill "herself."
The tweets didn't mention a specific school, but the Deer Park Independent School District, which alerted police to the threats Wednesday night, said the suspect was a ninth-grade student at Deer Park High School's North Campus.
One of the threatening tweets included a picture of a girl whom police identified as a student at that school. Morrison said the girl wasn't involved.
Morrison said investigators traced the suspect through the account's IP address to his wireless carrier, which turned over his address under a subpoena.
He and his parents were cooperating with investigators, and the boy appeared to have no actual weapons, police said. But students in the district had no way to know that, and the threats — profane, ugly and violent — were more than enough to terrify district students:
Other students weighed in, posting replies that urged the poster not to go with "her" plans.
"Please pray about this! I'll pray with you!!" one wrote.
Occasionally, they'd get a response:
"I just started freaking out," a student told NBC station KPRC of Houston. "This was no joke."
"They were retweeting them and telling us not to come to school because we were going to get shot," another said.
Although police and school officials said they were confident the boy was bluffing, bullying and weapons in school have been major topics of discussion after high-profile incidents in recent weeks, and the school district had beefed up security at Deer Park North.
A 12-year-old boy killed a teacher and wounded two fellow students Oct. 22 at Sparks Middle School near Reno, Nev., before shooting himself. Witnesses said the boy was upset about having been teased and bullied.
The same week, an 11-year-old boy was arrested for allegedly taking a gun and 400 rounds of ammunition to Frontier Middle School in Vancouver, Wash. Court documents said he told investigators he intended to defend a friend who was being bullied.
First published November 14 2013, 2:51 PM