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Suspect identified in school shooting threat

ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Police Department, with help from the FBI, have identified the author of the online violent threats made against Charter High School in Escondido in mid-January.

Utilizing computer forensics, the investigation traced the message back to a 17-year-old male living in Miami, Fla. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile.

The teenager allegedly wrote a message warning that a violent event involving a “barrage of bullets” and a suicide would occur on the high school’s campus on Jan. 17, according to Escondido Police Department Lt. Neal Griffin.

The threat caused the closure of all four American Charter Schools in Escondido for the day, but no violent or criminal activities occurred.

The teen had no connection to the schools or Escondido. But he reportedly wrote the message on a chat room on the social media website Omegle after being offended by a comment posted on the site by a female Escondido resident.

The suspect is said to have attributed the shooting threat to the young woman to retaliate.

“He decided to reach out and strike back, I guess,” said Griffin.

The individual has not been arrested or criminally charged at this point.

The law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation are still determining issues regarding prosecution and jurisdiction.

The alleged perpetrator will likely face felony charges of “cyber-bullying.”

Griffin pointed out that the Escondido Police Department was able to trace the origin of the message even though Omegle is promoted as a completely anonymous chat site. He emphasized that online messages are never truly anonymous, and people, especially minors, should be cautious about what they write online.