Administration Responds to Shooting Threat Discovered On Social Media

By Hayden Swanson, Sports Editor

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  • A post on the app Nextdoor explaining the incident. Attached to the post were original screenshots of the student's threat.

  • The student later posted this photo, saying his previous threat was a "joke", and that the weapon was a BB gun. This account has not been verified.

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On Saturday, Nov. 9, a student posted pictures on Snapchat of themselves holding a gun with the message, “Don’t pull up to school Monday.” Screenshots were taken of these posts, and they were quickly spread on the app Nextdoor. Jamie Randall, a Nextdoor user and the first person to post the screenshots, said that she had already contacted police on the matter, and was told that they were actively trying to resolve it.

“The snaps were posted last night at around 9:00,” Randall said. “The police have identified him [the student] through his Snapchat handle and were very urgent to resolve the situation last night at around 11:00. I have not heard anything else.”

Principal Mario Acosta released a letter addressing the student body, as well as staff and parents, which states:

“Overnight we were made aware of a threatening post on social media. Williamson
County Sheriff’s Department, the Austin Police Department, Round Rock ISD, and
Westwood administrators are taking actions to ensure that the issue is addressed.

The safety of our students and staff at school is of paramount importance. I would like to
thank the Williamson County Sheriff’s department, and the Austin Police Department for
their immediate response to this occurrence.

Please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns you want to
share. I assure you that the Westwood administration, faculty and staff are committed to
maintaining a safe school environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. We
pledge to continue our vigilance in keeping Westwood High School a safe campus.”

The student who posted the initial threat later claimed that it was just a joke, and that the weapon in the picture was actually a BB gun. Dr. Acosta later confirmed in a followup letter that law enforcement now had the student in custody, stating:

“Law enforcement officers have the individual who issued the
threat in custody. The person who posted the threat is not a current Westwood High
School student. There is no ongoing threat to Westwood High School or its students and
staff.”

The person who issued the threat on Saturday has now been arrested by police after being taken into custody. He’s been charged with making a terroristic threat, and has been sent to Juvenile Justice Detention Center until further notice.

UPDATE Nov. 11, 2019, 8:55 a.m.: Rumors of a second threat appeared all over social media late Sunday night, though a third letter from Dr. Acosta released Monday morning put these rumors to rest. While most of it contained the same information in the previous two letters, the new information states:

“Late Sunday night we were made aware of a social media post that alleged there was a second person involved in the original threat that was reported late on Saturday night. Round Rock ISD administrators and Williamson County Deputies worked overnight to investigate this claim. The investigation found that there was no second person involved and that there is no ongoing threat to Westwood High School or its students and staff.

As a precautionary measure and to help the community feel safe after a weekend of rumors, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department will have an increased presence on the campus today.”