SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A threat of violence prompted school officials Thursday to close Torrey Pines High School for the day and led to the arrest of a former student suspected of committing the crime.
Kevin Gregory Matlak, 21, was taken into custody without incident in the 3300 Fenelon Street in Point Loma early this afternoon on suspicion of making the menacing statements, according to San Diego police, who did not disclose a suspected motive.
Matlak was booked into county jail on suspicion of a felony count of making criminal threats, Capt. Daryl Hoover said.
Staffers at the Del Mar Heights Road campus got word about the threat this morning from police, Principal Rob Coppo said in a statement on the school's Facebook page.
"The threat included (a reference to) weapons and came from a former student," Coppo said, without identifying the alleged perpetrator.
Facebook Video: San Diego police give update on Torrey Pines High School canceling classes following alleged threat by former student.
The threat came to light late Wednesday evening, according to Hoover, who also said the communication made reference to "the possible use of weapons."
During a late-morning briefing at the SDPD's Northwestern Division station, Hoover -- who did not disclose how the threat was issued -- described such incidents as high-priority cases for his department.
"We will investigate threats ... to the fullest extent, and if a crime has occurred, that person will be arrested," Hoover told reporters.
School officials opted to close the campus "in an abundance of caution," Coppo said in his online statement, which was posted just after 7 a.m. and advised parents to "keep your students home today." The school also sent an email to parents alerting them to the decision, and calls to the campus' main phone line were answered with a message announcing the closure.
Hoover noted that any and all references to school violence carry great weight amid the recent proliferation of campus shootings.
"In today's times, the mere mention of a word or phrase could be alarming to others, even though the person may not have had any criminal intent," the police captain said.
The school posted the following statement on their website:
Dear Falcon Families,
All classes and school related activities are canceled today. Early this morning we received information from SDPD regarding a threat to Torrey Pines High School. The threat included weapons and came from a former student. SDPD is investigating and is working closely with our administration team and district representatives. While we do not have any other details regarding the threat, in an abundance of caution, we have decided to close the school. Please keep you students home today 5/31/18. We will continue to update you when we have additional information.
Rob Coppo Principal Torrey Pines High School
The threat is at least the third made against Torrey Pines High since the Feb. 14 shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A 16-year-old boy who was not a student at Torrey Pines High was arrested Feb. 23 for threatening a shooting at the school. His arrest came just a day after a 14-year-old freshman at the campus was arrested for making menacing verbal and written statements.
Those arrests came amid an onslaught of threats and subsequent arrests at local schools following the shooting that killed 17 people at the Florida high school. In March, just over a month after the Parkland shooting, Interim San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that nine juveniles had been arrested and charged in connection to 19 different threats.
Officials asked anyone with information about the latest threat to call a special tip line at (858) 523-7042. San Diego Police Department also reminds the public that anyone can anonymously report on threats and other suspicious activity in schools by visiting studentsspeakingout.org.
Security guards turn parents and students away at Torrey Pines High School amid a threat involving a former student pic.twitter.com/VqhOGWi3rI— Amanda Shotsky (@AmandaShotsky) May 31, 2018
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