Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio claims his detectives may have prevented a "serious mass murder" similar to the one carried out at an elementary school last week in Newtown, Connecticut.
While referencing the Connecticut shooting several times, Arpaio explained yesterday morning 's arrest of a 16-year-old student at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, who's accused of making a threat on the Internet.
MCSO says a man who runs a YouTube account on behalf of a transgender community in Toronto reported the post -- a text comment from the girl on one of the transgender community's videos -- to police.
Arpaio couldn't elaborate on why the girl would threaten a high school in Mesa on a YouTube account run by a transgender community in Toronto. Arpaio, who's a bit technologically challenged, referred to the owner of the account on "the YouTube" as "the owner of the Web," so it's not clear if he understands the Internet facet of the investigation.
According to MCSO, part of the online post read, "I now literally have a plan of seriously hurting... killing... murdering people in my high school."
Another part said, "I WORK at the high school as a student teacher basically...which is why no one can find out about me somewhat accidentally planning to blow up the school. (and yes... it would be super easy...)."
Toronto police found out the post came from the Mesa area, and reported it to MCSO on Wednesday night. Arpaio said he wouldn't elaborate on how they tracked down this girl -- although he gave a shout-out to "Cox cable" -- Sheriff's Office detectives tracked down and interviewed the girl yesterday morning.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the girl told detectives that "she was scared because she thinks she may really carry out the plans detailed in the post, and 'f[uc]king kill everyone.'"
Although there were three guns in the girl's home, they had trigger locks and were kept in a safe, and they belonged to her parents, so they weren't seized.
However, Arpaio said the girl's parents told detectives that their daughter had "a history of mental-health issues," and had recently been asking where the guns were kept.
Arpaio said this was "sort of an intervention" for the girl, and praised his detectives for arresting the girl, although it's not clear how sincere her threats actually were.
"We're not taking any chances," he said. "If people want to criticize us for it, so be it."
The girl faces charges of computer tampering and threatening or intimidating.
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