Somerset County officials announced that a 15-year-old Warren Township male juvenile was taken into custody and charged regarding the May 25 verbal threat incident, which was received at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS).
According to Somerset County Acting Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart, on Wednesday, May 25, at approximately 12:10 p.m., WHRHS received a phone call from an individual purporting himself to be in a school bathroom with weapons stating he was going to shoot up the school at the next bell.
Warren Township Officers, along with officers from surrounding jurisdictions and Somerset County agencies, responded while simultaneously, the school immediately initiated its lockdown procedures.
According to Prosecutor Taggart, after an extensive search of the entire school, it was determined the threat was not credible. Students and faculty were dismissed at the appropriate time while police maintained a presence at the school during dismissal.
Prosecutor Taggart stated that the Warren Township Police Detective Bureau continued the investigation into the threat received at the school, which ultimately revealed the 15-year-old juvenile, who authorities have said is enrolled at the WHRHS, had direct knowledge of the incident on May 25.
The investigation also revealed that the juvenile also attempted to facilitate an additional call of a similar nature to the school on May 26.
Authorities have disclosed that the investigation revealed that at no time was there an individual in the school with any type of weapon.
Prosecutor Taggart stated that during the course of this ongoing investigation, Warren Township detectives became aware of a video depicting the juvenile, which found him to be creating and disseminating videos of animal cruelty, specifically by causing harm to a family pet.
According to Prosecutor Taggart, on June 13, authorities charged the juvenile with a Juvenile Delinquency Complaint, charging him with Conspiracy to Commit False Public Alarm and Animal Cruelty.
The juvenile was lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center pending a Family Court appearance.
Prosecutor Taggart commends the Warren Township Police for their work on this matter and for ensuring the safety of all students and community members in Warren Township.
Somerset County officials request anyone with information relating to this investigation to contact the Warren Township Police Department at (908) 753-1000 or the Warren Township Police tip line at warrenpolice.com.
Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477).
All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.