[symple_googlemap title=”Fountain Valley High School” location=”Fountain Valley High School, Orange County CA” height=”300″ zoom=”15″]An emailed threat of a bombing and mass shooting prompted officials to cancel classes at Fountain Valley High School on Wednesday and search the campus for explosives before determining the threat was a hoax.
Police were alerted about the threat at 6:15 a.m., and after five hours of scouring the campus investigators found no evidence the claim was credible, Fountain Valley police Sgt. Tony Luce said.
Classes will resume Thursday, but students and teachers were able to return to campus before noon to participate in football practices and other extracurricular activities, Luce said.
Bushard Street, which had been closed from Talbert and Slater avenues during the investigation, was reopened at 11:30 a.m., Luce said.
Fountain Valley police said the email, sent from a student’s account about 10 p.m. Tuesday, warned that there would be explosives hidden on campus.
Luce said the email also stated that the assailant would go to the campus after the explosion “with an assault rifle and kill any surviving people on campus.”
An Orange County sheriff’s bomb squad was sent to search the campus, according to the Sheriff’s Department. A sweep of the campus, conducted with the help of bomb-sniffing dogs, did not find any evidence of explosives.
Meanwhile, investigators went to the home of the 17-year-old student who appeared to have sent the threatening email, but he denied sending it, Luce said.
“He denies any involvement in sending the email and a preliminary investigation of his devices does not show the email was sent from his devices,” Luce said, adding the student allowed investigators to examine his phone and computer.
“When they found no indication that the email came directly from him, it’s quite possible that in some way the student’s account was hacked,” Luce said.
“It was some type of prank or hoax, and whether it was initiated by a student or someone else is being investigated,” Luce said.
The student apparently did not have any access to firearms, Luce said, adding that investigators would conduct a forensic examination of the student’s computer for clues in their search for the culprit.
At 11:10 a.m., a bomb threat at California Elementary School, 3232 California St., Costa Mesa, forced the evacuation of students until investigators determined that it was also a hoax, according to Costa Mesa police Lt. Mark Manley. Students were let back in school by 11:45 a.m., Manley added.
— City News Service