Whittier, CA – An El Camino High School student was arrested after a school security guard reported overhearing the teenager’s threat of a school shooting to police.
Police have credited security guard Marino Chavez for possibly preventing a copycat, Florida-type school massacre.
On Feb. 16, Chavez overheard a 17-year-old student say that he was “going to shoot up the school sometime in the next three weeks,” and reported it to authorities, according to The Independent.
The teenager made his comments just two days after 17 people were killed by a teenage gunman in a Florida school shooting.
Chavez said he initially confronted the teenager about his comment, and the student told him he was just kidding and did not mean it.
The student, who police said had an extensive disciplinary record at the school, was apparently angry a teacher told him he could not wear headphones in the classroom, he said.
Police searched the teenager’s home, and while they didn’t uncover an actual plot to shoot up El Camino High School, the search was not in vain.
Officers found two AR-15 rifles, 90 “high capacity” magazines, and two handguns during their search, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.
Police arrested the student for making a criminal threat, and Sheriff McDonnell said he was being held without bail, The Washington Post reported.
The sheriff said the incident demonstrated that police need to treat every threat seriously.
“This is an example of something that could have potentially went down that path, but didn’t,” he said. “As we see these incidents occur one after another, we’re all looking to say how do we stop this?”
Police said the guns belonged to the student’s 28-year-old brother, Daniel Barcenas, who said he purchased the weapons while serving in the Army in Texas, according to The Washington Post.
One of the AR-15 rifles was not registered, which is a felony in California, police said.
Barcenas was charged with five felonies, including possession of an assault weapon and bringing high-capacity magazines from Texas, Sheriff McDonnell said.