School safety officer Marino Chavez thought he overheard something alarming Friday at a Whittier, Calif., high school just 48 hours after a Florida school shooting.
A 17-year-old who had earlier tangled with an El Camino High School teacher about wearing headphones in class mumbled something after lunch about “shooting up the campus” within three weeks, according to KTLA. Chavez said he immediately confronted the teen, who confirmed the threat, but then backtracked.
“He did say that he was just kidding, he did not mean it,” Chavez recalled. “I said, ‘Well you can’t say those things on a school campus,’ ”
A few hours after Chavez raised the alarm, Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators found a cache of firearms, including two semiautomatic rifles, two handguns and 90 high-capacity magazines, at his home, reported the Los Angeles Times. They had searched the home after discovering a handgun had been registered there.
The 17-year-old, who has not been identified because he is a minor, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, said Sheriff Jim McDonnell. School officials said he has an “extensive” disciplinary history at the campus, which is a continuation school, according to the publication.
The teen’s older brother, a U.S. Army veteran, told authorities he owned the firearms, and also has been arrested on suspicion of possessing an assault weapon, importing a high-capacity magazine, failing to register a handgun and criminal storage of firearms, McDonnell told KABC. The firearms were not secured in the home, he said.
At a press conference Wednesday, Chavez declined to take credit for foiling the potential shooting, reported KTLA.
“No, I’m not a hero, just doing my job,” he said.
Schools across the United States have undergone a series of lockdowns and shutdowns in response to threats and reported threats after a student gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.