Madison police arrest student after shooting threat

PDATE (WKOW) -- A Sherman Middle School student is in juvenile detention Sunday after police said he posted a threat on social media to “shoot up the school.”

School Safety Security Coordinator Joe Balles said two students were engaging in the usual teenage banter with another student Friday night on the app Snapchat.

“But then he started sending them some very scary, disturbing social media content,” Balles said.

Alarmed, the students contacted Madison Police. But before they could make an arrest, police had to figure out just who the students were talking to.

“It was after school hours on Friday evening when the young ladies were communicating with this other party. They didn't exactly know who they were communicating with because of social media handles and things like that,” Balles said. “They believed they were communicating with another middle schooler from Black Hawk Middle School. But by the time the officers talked to them, a lot of the information that would’ve been helpful to us on Saturday, the girls had deleted from their phones.”

The district sent a letter to parents Saturday, which helped police develop leads overnight, and inevitably enabled them to connect the dots.

“Madison police detectives came in and we were able to identify the phone number that they were communicating with. And after working through a cell phone carrier, they were able to come up with a phone number that they were receiving the threats from,” Balles said.

Balles said detectives crossed referenced the number with the district database and identified the student who posted the threat.

“At that point the domino's just started falling throughout the day and they finally found the young man. Madison Police Department was able to track him down this afternoon.”

The student admitted to police that he indeed posted the threat. He was arrested and charged with 2 counts of unlawful use of computerized communications systems.

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