Threat of a “Massacre” at O’Dea was a Misunderstanding Between Students

Seattle Police officers and detectives acted quickly to investigate a second hand report of an impending “massacre” at O’Dea High School, resolving the complaint just hours after it was received.

Patrol officers received this information via a 911 call around 11:30 last night from a concerned parent. The parent’s teenage son told them that he had heard that a “massacre” would occur at school, possibly as early as the following morning. One specific student was associated with the threat and no others. There were no other details to the threat. The parent reported that his son was visibly shaken.

SPD patrol, Criminal Intelligence detectives and SWAT officers immediately began working with O’Dea High School and the Catholic Archdiocese to implement a safety plan.

The operation unfolded like clockwork, with the suspected student being stopped and questioned before he could arrive at school.

The student was questioned by detectives and admitted to using the word “massacre” in conversation the previous day. The student insisted that the conversation was taken out of context and that he didn’t mean anything by it. Detectives proceeded to conduct a very thorough investigation and consensual search to corroborate that there was indeed no plot to inflict harm on fellow students.

The student was thanked for his cooperation and released.

While the incident was documented, there will be no request for charges because detectives are confident that no crime was committed.  Even so, uniformed patrol officers will remain present in the vicinity of O’Dea for the remainder of the school day.

While the reporting family has requested confidentiality, we would like to commend them for bringing this to our attention by calling 911. The teenage boy who told his parents especially exhibited courage by speaking up when time was of the essence.

In this post-Columbine/Sandy Hook world, school safety is on everyone’s mind. We would like to remind our community that we take the charge of protecting the public very seriously and that we have the personnel, the tools and the training to fully investigate threats to our schools, even when reported in the dark of night the day before Thanksgiving.

This is something that we can all be thankful for.