Online threat leads to arrest of West Anchorage High student, police say

FastCast digital headlines for Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 1:04 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 3:24 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage police say they arrested an 18-year-old West Anchorage High School student early Wednesday morning after the school was put into a “stay put mode.”

According to a post on the Anchorage Police Department website, school resource officers at West were notified by school staff of a potential threat.

“Initial indications are that in the evening of January 24th, a group of mostly juveniles was engaged in a chat on an app when one of them made a threat about causing harm to students the following day,” police wrote.

Police wrote that they arrested and charged Gabriel Schooler with second-degree terroristic threats.

The Department of Law said in charging documents released Thursday that Schooler sent the message on Snapchat.

Charging documents show that Schooler sent a message that said “i’m gonna shoot up West Anchorage High School tomorrow at 12:30 pm do NOT show up.”

According to the charging documents, police talked with two students that were in the group chat who confirmed that Schooler had sent the message, and showed the message to police.

This is the second time police have responded to West in three months after a gun was confiscated in November.

In an email to parents, West Principal Ja Dorris said that the school was in a “stay put mode” while West High School staff and Anchorage police located the student who had made the threat.

“I wanted to make you aware of an incident that occurred on campus this morning. An individual reported to a West High School staff member that there had been a student who posted a threat on social media about shooting the school today,” Dorris wrote. “After a thorough investigation, APD determined that there was no threat to the school. We wanted to let you know about this incident because safety and transparency is our number one priority. We are grateful for the quick response of our security team, administration and our School Resource Officers who ensured the safety of everyone involved. This incident is a good reminder that if you see or hear something, say something.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.