Two white male juveniles were taken into custody over the weekend after threatening to harm a student via a social media networking site. The two fourteen-year-old boys were students of Groves Middle School and were making terroristic threats to another middle school student via Facebook, according to Lt. Kirk Rice of Groves Police Department.
"The threat was reported on Friday," Rice said. "Two eighth-grade students took part in making threats to do harm via Facebook. The victim was a sixth-grade student."
One of the boys was taken into custody from Groves Middle School on Friday afternoon at approximately 3:30 p.m., Rice said. The other juvenile was out of town on a retreat and was brought to the police station by his parents after returning to Groves Sunday afternoon.
Rice said that investigators worked diligently throughout the weekend reviewing hundreds of messages and interviewing witnesses ruling out other potential victims. The only student that was named in the posts was immediately notified. Investigators also searched the juvenile’s residence and determined that they didn’t possess the means to carry out the threat; however, threatening to commit violence or placing a person or the public in fear of serious bodily injury is sufficient to meet the elements of the offense, according to Rice.
Cooperation by the accused students, who had no prior records, and their parents made the investigation run smoothly, Rice said.
"The students both gave us confessions admitting to involvement with no exact intentions of carrying the act out," he said. "But the mere fact that the intent or means was not there does not discount it. It's still considered a threat. We're going to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."
The two 14-year-old white male juveniles were charged with making a terroristic threat, a 3rd degree felony. Both juveniles are currently being held at the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Justice Center in Beaumont and will go in front of a judge this morning, Rice said.
"When you make a threat toward someone else, just the mere threat — placing someone in fear— is committing the act," he said. "You don't actually have to carry it out. If someone says, 'I'm going to blow up a specific building,' for instance; The threat to do so is a crime even if they are unarmed or don't have the means to accomplish it. Words are powerful and they have to be extremely careful in what they say, especially on a social media website."
"We want to reassure parents that the Groves Police Department has a zero tolerance policy regarding threats, whether they are made over the telephone, in person or via the internet," a Groves Police Department press release on the incident states. "We take every threat towards students and/or facility member serious and will aggressively investigate to the fullest extent possible. We encourage parents and students to immediately report any threat directed towards a student, school or facility member. A threat against the safety and security of our schools will always be of the highest priority."