Online Threats to Rancho Mirage Unfounded

RANCHO MIRAGE (CNS) - A social media post suggesting a school shooting threat at Rancho Mirage High School was determined to be unfounded, sheriff's deputies and school district officials said today.

An online post made this week depicting someone with a gun suggested a threat to the campus, though a sheriff's department investigation -- which included a search of the student's home -- debunked any credibility of a threat, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Palm Springs Unified School District.

Sheriff's Deputy Mike Vasquez said ``the student did not have the ability to carry out any threat.''

A PSUSD statement that was sent to all district parents Friday morning stated, ``Regarding the postings this week, we want to assure you that district and local law enforcement officials have conducted an extensive investigation including interviews and a home search and have found no credibility to these postings.''

District officials urged parents to be wary of social media threats and report them to law enforcement or school officials rather than simply proliferating rumored threats online.

``We understand that parents and students may be fearful and feel that they are doing the right thing by posting information they think may have validity,'' the statement reads. ``However, the most productive course of action is to report any concerns to a trust adult at school or to law enforcement to immediately address.''

The online post followed unsubstantiated threats to Indio high schools in social media posts referencing ``IHS'' and ``SHS,'' which some took to refer to Indio and Shadow Hills high schools.

One of the posts, made last Thursday, was actually referencing Imperial High School, where a student was in fact arrested for making threats. Karl Manaig, 18, of Imperial, was charged this week with making criminal threats. Imperial County prosecutors said he planned to attack students in two different classrooms at the school.

Manaig is free on bail but due in a Brawley courtroom on Monday.

Posts referencing ``SHS'' were actually related to a high school in Butte, Montana, according to Indio Sgt. Daniel Marshall.

Indio police said Friday that while the threats were ``determined to not be related to Indio schools, the Indio Police Department still investigates each of these incidents to the fullest to ensure the safety of our students.''

The department also noted that it has four full-time School Resource Officers working with the Desert Sands Unified School District.

Just outside Riverside County, a 16-year-old Yucca Valley High School student was arrested Thursday after San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies say he made threats toward the school.

After other students confirmed the threats were made, the student was arrested at his home, where two guns were seized, according to sheriff's Deputy Armando Cantu. He was booked into Juvenile Hall on suspicion of making criminal threats, according to the sheriff's department.

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