TVUSD: Administrators track down person responsible for Great Oak shooting threat

The threat is not believed to be credible, school district officials say

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A screenshot of what appears to be a student's Snapchat post showing a shooting threat written on a tile wall at Great Oak High School. The screenshot began to circulate on Twitter on Tuesday.

School district officials on Wednesday were able to identify the person who was believed to have scrawled a shooting threat on a bathroom wall at Great Oak High School in Temecula, and said they do not believe the threat to be credible.

Temecula Valley Unified School District officials started an investigation after they became aware of the threat on Tuesday. A screenshot of what appears to be a student’s Snapchat post showing the words “9/26 shooting” written on a tile wall in permanent marker had begun circulating on social media that morning.

A screenshot of what appears to be a student’s Snapchat post showing a shooting threat written on a tile wall at Great Oak High School. The screenshot began to circulate on Twitter on Tuesday.

Temecula Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Laura Boss provided an email sent to parents by Great Oak Principal Aimee Ricken on Tuesday. In the email, Ricken said the threat was discovered in a boys’ restroom in the school’s 600 building.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we have had this kind of writing on a bathroom wall on our high school campuses,” Ricken said. “While we do not believe this to be a credible threat, we are following all of our normal protocols and procedures to investigate and determine the identity of the writer(s).  We will exercise every precaution and process we have available to identify the source.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, Ricken sent an update to parents saying Great Oak administrators had become aware of the identity of the person believed to be responsible for the threat – though she did not divulge whether that person was a student.

“While we are confident that there is no threat to campus tomorrow, we know that these incidents also increase concern over campus safety,” Ricken said in the email. “As an additional measure of support and comfort, Temecula PD will still provide additional units at GOHS tomorrow.”

The principal had previously said there will be a heightened presence of Riverside County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday if officials were unable to determine who made the threat.

Ricken also told parents that Great Oak staff have been trained to respond to “emergent threats,” and that both students have trained in “reverse evacuation drills, earthquake and fire drills, lockout and lockdown drills, so that protocols are practiced and familiar.”

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Robyn Flores said on Tuesday that school resource officers at Great Oak were notified about the message and confirmed there will be an extra patrol at the high school on Thursday.

“The Sheriff’s Department treats every threat serious and wants to ensure the students, parents and staff that we are working diligent to identify the student(s) responsible,” Flores said.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.

9:30 p.m. Wednesday: This story was updated with additional information from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

4:45 p.m. Tuesday: This story was updated with additional information from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.