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Safety 'No. 1 issue,' superintendent says of Twitter threat

April 10, 2013|By Kate Mather

Aside from the reporters outside, it was "business as usual" at a Burbank high school Wednesday, a day after a 16-year-old student allegedly threatened via Twitter to shoot another, the district's superintendent said.

Jan Britz said Burbank police have handled the majority of the investigation, which began Tuesday evening when the alleged threats were reported to authorities.

Several callers reported the Twitter message, one of which identified the alleged suspect and victim both as John Burroughs High School students, Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.

"Today we just needed to notify our employees and staff that everyone was taken care of," Britz said. "Safety was our No. 1 issue."

Officials tried to keep Wednesday -- a testing day -- "calm" for the students, Britz added.

She declined to say whether the student suspect had been suspended or expelled.

Though the alleged threat did not specifically name the alleged victim, a caller "knew who the suspect was talking about," Ryburn said. The suspect "made specific threats toward that individual ... that he was going to shoot him," he added.

The alleged threat also referenced the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students killed 12 others and one teacher before killing themselves.

Burbank police "acted immediately," Ryburn said, and worked with the school district in their investigation. Officers arrested the suspect at his home and booked him on suspicion of making terrorist threats, Ryburn said. He was later released to his parents.

Burbank police said the incident appeared to be isolated.

Both Ryburn and Britz commended those who contacted authorities after seeing the alleged threat.

"It's huge for us to get that information right away," he said.

"The whole community is just so attentive to those kind of things," Britz said. "It's a good community and people want to keep it safe."

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com

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