UPDATE – Student arrested for bomb materials

Police seized bomb-making materials, computer records and a small marijuana growing operation from the home of a 16-year-old Bainbridge High School student believed to be the source of written threats – to both specific individuals and the school at large – that canceled classes Monday.

The youth, who has not been charged in connection with the threats, was arrested Monday on charges of first-degree computer trespass, along with explosives and drug charges, Bainbridge Police said. He was booked into the Kitsap County Youth Service Center and was still in custody Tuesday morning.

A judge on Tuesday afternoon imposed $2,500 bail, which the suspect posted. He was released to his parents' custody, and is to remain under their supervision at all times until his June 27 arraignment, prosecutors said.

Several items were seized Monday night after police served a search warrant on the suspect's home. The impetus behind the warrant was an alleged computer trespass incident that the suspect later admitted to committing, according to the police department's probable cause statement.

In the incident, the boy intentionally gained unauthorized access to the computer system of one of the threatened students. Once inside, he changed the girl's email passwords and uploaded pornographic images to her Facebook website, the statement said.

The incident, along with other information gathered from interviews, prompted police to seek a warrant to search the boy's home, where they found chemicals and bomb-making materials in and around a shed on the family's property, along with eight small marijuana plants.

According to the statement, the suspect admitted to making and detonating explosives in the woods near his house. He also admitted that the materials in the shed were to be used for manufacturing additional explosives.

Some 30 computers were seized from the home, to be searched for evidence linking the suspect to the threat at BHS – a crime for which he still has not been charged – said Deputy Police Chief Mark Duncan. Duncan said there are no other suspects, but the investigation is ongoing.

The incident began when several computer-generated letters, posted at upper campus building entrances, were found by school staff at about 7 a.m. Monday, before classes began.

The letters threatened gun violence against specifically named students and anyone else who might be at the school, police said.

“It mentioned specific students,” Duncan said. “But everyone else was mentioned as well.”

In an email to parents, Superintendent of Schools Ken Crawford said the “rhetoric within the correspondence was intense and cause for immediate action.”

School officials canceled classes for the day at both BHS and neighboring Commodore Options School, as police investigated. Officials said that students who were threatened by name and their families were promptly notified, and extra security procedures at all other schools were put into action.

Once the BHS building was deemed safe, staff returned to work the remainder of the day.

Classes resumed Tuesday at both schools, though extra security was planned on campus.

“I am extremely concerned, saddened and disappointed that anyone who is a member of our school community would feel so angry, frustrated or disconnected from our community that they would take action to threaten our school,” said BHS Principal Brent Peterson, in an email announcement to parents.

Peterson went on to acknowledge the apprehension of some parents to send their children back to school, but expressed confidence that the campus is safe.

“You will see police officers on campus providing additional support and security,” he said. “The bottom line is, I can assure you that if I felt that I could not bring my own son or my own granddaughters to BHS today, we would not be having school.”

Duncan stressed that the investigation is still in the early stages, but said police decided to go public with the information to quell rumors.

“It reached a point where there was so much rampant speculation,” he said. “This investigation is ongoing.”

Heightened campus security will continue until Friday, when school lets out for the summer.

“As to whether we were able to avert a very serious circumstance, it is unknown,” Crawford said.

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