An 18-year-old Palm Springs teen was behind bars Tuesday, after police allege he placed a criminal threat on Facebook to kill everyone at Palm Springs High School.
Palm Springs Police Sergeant Mike Kovaleff says the alleged threat happened when David Torres accessed a friend's Facebook account and placed the status update: "im going 2 kill every 1 at pshs 2morow so stay home I got a gun."
The unidentified 15-year-old friend, a student at Palm Springs High, had apparently left their computer logged into the social media site while playing video games with Torres Monday afternoon.
He then walked away for a few minutes, when Torres-- who is not a student at the school-- allegedly made the post, according to police. That teen then found out about the message after someone else spotted it online, Kovaleff said.
"Torres’ friend, not aware of the post, reviewed the post and confronted Torres about posting it," Kovaleff said. "Torres reportedly admitted to writing the post as a joke. Torres’ friend then deleted the post from his Facebook page."
The 15-year-old was questioned and released when "PSPD determined that he was not criminally liable in this incident," Kovaleff said.
"The Palm Springs Police Department has not obtained any evidence to link Torres’ or his 15 year old friend to actually carrying out the threat but will handle any incident of this type with a zero-tolerance policy due to the serious nature of the threat," the sergeant added.
Police seized two computers and a cell phone during the investigation, he added. Police also searched Torres' and his friend's homes and didn't find any weapons.
“We take these matters very seriously," Palm Springs Police Chief Al Franz said. "One of the most critical responsibilities of law enforcement is to ensure that our children and their parents feel safe when children are attending school. That feeling of safety was recently shattered in America, as a result of the tragic events that occurred last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It is now our responsibility to resuscitate that feeling of safety. We will protect our children and their schools in a manner that ensures that they are safe and that the learning environment is protected."
Torres was being held Tuesday at the Banning jail on a felony charge of making terrorist threats, on $75,000 bail, Riverside County jail records indicate. Palm Springs police say they asked for a high bail amount due to the serious nature of the threat.
"PSPD contacted a judge to request a bail increase from the scheduled bail amount for the violation," said David Guadalupe Torres, 18 years old, Palm SpringsKovaleff. "Torres’ bail was increased from the scheduled bail amount of $5,000 to the amount of $75,000."
Police found out about the incident when concerned parents of two PSHS students spotted the posting on Monday night.