Three teens arrrested in connection to death threats of GHS teacher

Look for the full story and more in Monday’s edition
GILROY
– After nearly six hours of intense detective work Friday, city
police tracked down a cell-phone caller who threatened to shoot a
Gilroy High School teacher.
Look for the full story and more in Monday’s edition

GILROY – After nearly six hours of intense detective work Friday, city police tracked down a cell-phone caller who threatened to shoot a Gilroy High School teacher.

In a house on Welburn Avenue, officers found three 17-year-old GHS students: two girls and a boy.

Police suspected the students were the ones whose two calls to 9-1-1 had launched a massive police lockdown at GHS that morning, but to be sure, one of the cops dialed the number for the cell phone used in the death threats.

They immediately heard a ring from a bedroom. The phone – stolen that morning and used in the threat minutes later – was hidden under the bed.

The officers arrested all three immediately, at 3:18 p.m. The law prohibits police from releasing their names, since they are under 18.

No weapons of any kind were found in connection with the arrested teen-agers. Based on interviews with the students after their arrest, police Capt. Scot Smithee and Sgt. John Sheedy said the death threat turned out to be only a prank.

“All three were involved,” Sheedy said, but only one actually called 9-1-1 and threatened to “bust a cap” on cooking teacher Diana Burkholder.

In a chronology outlined by Sheedy, the three teens cut class on Friday morning, hitched a ride from a man on Tenth Street, and then stole his cell phone. One of the girls disguised her voice as a man and used the stolen phone to dial 9-1-1 twice, threatening both times to shoot Burkholder.

The girl told California Highway Patrol and Gilroy Police dispatchers that she was at GHS with a gun. Fearing a massacre like that which took place at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, heavily armed police officers stormed the school within minutes and kept it locked down for nearly three hours.

When they didn’t find a gunman, they switched into investigative mode.

After a couple of dead-end leads, police finally pinpointed the house on the 800 block of Welburn Avenue by piecing together a number of sources.

Police booked all three teen-agers on suspicion of making terrorist threats, possession of stolen property – both felonies – and misuse of the 9-1-1 system.

One of the girls is in 10th grade; the other girl and the boy are in 11th. They were taken to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall.

LEAVE A REPLY