Breaking: Police say they’ve arrested student who threatened shooting


(Photo: Daniel Garepis-Holland)

Payton Anderson and Sophia Yang

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 9:50 p.m. Thursday to include additional information from the 5:56 p.m. PAPD press release.

Local authorities have arrested the student who threatened the shooting that initiated the shelter-in-place Tuesday morning at Palo Alto High School, according to press releases from the Palo Alto Unified School District and Palo Alto Police Department

The student, a 17-year-old boy, was arrested this afternoon but has since been released.

“Officers arrested the student for criminal threats (a felony) and released him to the custody of family members,” the press release stated. “There is no evidence that the student ever had access to a firearm.”

Through a recently installed campus security system, authorities were able to identify a hooded figure seen taping the written threat to a classroom door on the night of April 24, the PAUSD press release stated. 

According to the press release, PAUSD staff obtained the footage for the Palo Alto Police Department to use in their investigation. 

“These findings, located on a cloud-based video surveillance system, provided the necessary imaging reviewed by district staff during this week’s detailed search,” the press release stated. “Information shared with the City of Palo Alto authorities increased the probability of apprehending the identified suspect.” 

According to Superintendent Don Austin, the security system proved vital in the identification of the student.  

“Without this district-wide enhancement, there is no guarantee the initial investigation would have reached this conclusion so soon,” Austin stated in the press release.

Austin said the detaining of the student responsible for the threat can hopefully provide community members with some comfort. 

“We [the district] want our students, our staff and our families to return to normalcy,” Austin said. “This disruption in our students’ education is not taken lightly. Our district cameras and security system definitely contribute to a safer school environment.”

 According to PAUSD Communications Coordinator George Pinckney, reached yesterday – before today’s announcement – the district looks to improve communication in order to ensure safety in situations going forward. 

“One step that we’re focusing on is reiterating announcements and perhaps having a secondary announcement via email,” Pinckney said. “Outreach is important and following up and asking teachers about the situation they experience. Those three steps will help us improve communication, and maybe understand how students reacted to the overall situation yesterday.” 

The press release says further details regarding disciplinary and legal matters handled by the PAPD are not to be publicly disclosed.

This article will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.