Crime - Sacto 911

Rocklin students arrested in social media scare released; DA weighing charges

Three Whitney High School students arrested last week in connection with alleged threats of campus violence have been released from custody, and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

Aspects of the case are still being investigated, but based on evidence obtained by detectives so far, there was never any danger to Whitney High students, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.

Social media postings related to gun violence at Whitney and Rocklin high schools led to the arrest of 18-year-old Justin Paul Herrmann and two students under 18, whose names were not released, on suspicion of making annoying electronic communications and criminal threats. The social media scare began shortly after noon Thursday when Whitney High School’s principal told police about a rumor that a shooting was supposed to occur Friday on campus. The principal was informed of the rumors by the parent of a Whitney High student.

The rumors were traced to an Instagram profile created seven weeks earlier. The profile read: “Whitney High School new world order 5/30/14.” Police said no evidence of guns, shootings or threats was found in the profile.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, information that students were not in danger came to light only after a thorough investigation by Rocklin detectives, and after officers and school administrators took measures to protect students and secure the campus.

“Unfortunately, given the growing number of instances of campus violence, law enforcement and school administrators must take every threat, or information that individuals may be planning campus violence, seriously and respond accordingly to protect the lives of our students and their teachers,” the news release from the District Attorney’s Office said. “The response of the administration of Whitney High School and the Rocklin Police Department was necessary and appropriate based on the information that was reported to them.”

Herrmann posted $5,000 bail and was given a court date of July 1. The juveniles are scheduled to return to Juvenile Court on June 30. A decision on whether to charge the three will be made prior to the court dates, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

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