After School Threat, Cops Find Cache of Guns, Ammo

After School Threat, Cops Find Cache of Guns, Ammo

Authorities said a shooting at a South Whittier high school was thwarted last week after a security guard overheard a student making a threat, which led deputies to a stockpile of weapons at the teenager's home.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Wednesday that a security officer at El Camino High School near Whittier overheard the teen "say that he was going to shoot up the school sometime in the next three weeks".

LASD sheriff Jim McDonnell said his department takes seriously threats of violence on school campuses.

After obtaining a warrant to search the student's home in Norwalk, deputies found two AR-15 rifles, two handguns and 90 high-capacity ammunition magazines, McDonnell said.

The student has been arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats and his brother was also arrested on suspicion of charges including possession of an assault weapon, import of high-capacity magazines, criminal storage of firearms and failure to register a personal handgun.

Robert Jacobsen, general counsel for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, said the teen didn't like a teacher's rule banning headphones in class but that school officials didn't have any other information about concerns regarding the student. One was registered to the man and another was unregistered, which is a felony in the state, McDonnell added. He approached the student, questioned him and brought him to the office.The student confirmed what he said, but said he was only kidding, Chavez said. His name was not released because he is a minor.

Southern California authorities say they took action immediately on a student's threat to open fire at his high school even though he claimed it was a joke. He said they found various kinds of ammunition in the boy's room, one handgun in the hallway with two loaded magazines nearby and the three other firearms in a container in the garage which did not have a door.

The sheriff credited "attentive" school resource personnel - in particular the safety officer - as well as "diligent" investigators, with preventing what he said could have been a unsafe outcome.

However, Chavez, who overheard the students' comments at that time, called deputy and an investigation resulted in finding a collection of weapons and ballistic evidence at the student's home.

Since the Florida school shooting on February 14, there have been 19 school-related threats in L.A. County that have been reported to the department's Criminal Intelligence Bureau, according to McDonnell.

McDonnell said he believed the student posed a serious threat. "I'm just doing my job every day...the sheriff's department can only respond if they are told". The mother reported her son, saying she did not know what he was capable of, said McDonnell. Their home was searched but no weapons were located. "If you don't talk to them, someone else will".