BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) announced this afternoon, December 11th, that they arrested and charged a 16-year-old Sehome High School student over threats that led to 3 separate security lockdowns on the school campus.
An arrest has been made in the investigation of the threats made at Sehome High School (SHS) over the past week. These threats have led school administrators to initiate safety protocols on three separate occasions in seven days. This was done out of an abundance of caution for the safety of students and staff on campus. On the afternoon of December 10, 2021, Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Detectives made an arrest of a 16-year-old male student at Sehome High School. He was booked into the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention Facility for threats to bomb or injure property, a class B felony.
On December 3, 2021, several Sehome High School students reported getting a message on their phones via the airdrop feature which mentioned someone was in possession of a gun. The threats were reported to the administration, who immediately enacted proper safety protocols. Bellingham Police were called, and an investigation was started.
During this initial investigation, BPD learned of information that a student was in possession of a gun on campus. This information culminated in a 16-year-old student being arrested for having an airsoft Glock 17 replica in his possession on school grounds. The student was arrested with charges being referred to the prosecutor’s office. Officers retained the airsoft pistol and impounded it as evidence. This student was not involved in the case of the threatening messages being sent.
On December 6, 2021, another message was sent via airdrop to students, this time alleging there was a bomb on campus. Sehome High School administrators followed proper safety protocols and BPD was called to the scene. BPD Detectives, CSIs and patrol officers continued their investigation and interviews attempting to identify the sender of the messages.
On December 8, 2021, the third of the threats via airdrop was received by students at Sehome High School. For the third time, SHS administrators enacted proper safety protocols. BPD Detectives and Digital Forensic Examiners worked with the SHS administrative team and the Bellingham Public School District safety team to identify the person sending the messages. Forensic examination of several phones was ongoing during this time, to aid in identifying the suspect.
On Friday, December 10, 2021, the investigation focused on one student. Investigators contacted him and conducted an interview. He and his parents were cooperative with investigators throughout the interview process. Following the interview, BPD Detectives developed probable cause for threats to bomb or injure property (RCW 9A.61.160,) a class B felony, and the 16-year-old student was booked into the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention Facility. When he was arrested, investigators did not find a gun or bomb in the student’s possession.Bellingham Police Department (December 11, 2021)