COSTA MESA (CBSLA) – Two teens were taken into custody Tuesday morning and a BB gun air rifle was seized in connection with a mass shooting threat against Estancia High School in Costa Mesa.
The suspects, 18-year-old Lenny Vega and a 17-year-old girl, were charged with making terrorist threats.
At around 11:10 p.m. Monday, Costa Mesa police received several calls regarding two social media posts which indicated that a mass shooting would occur at Estancia High. The first post showed one of the suspects holding what looked like a rifle with the caption, “Don’t go to school tomorrow.” Then a second post stated there would be a “mass shooting” at Estancia High on Thursday, Dec. 5.
Police notified the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and learned that the threatening message with the photo of the gun had been posted to Vega’s social media account, while the second had been posted to the female suspect’s account. Sometime before 9 a.m. Tuesday, the two were arrested. Police raided two homes and seized a BB gun air rifle which investigators believe was displayed in the first threatening post.
The girl is a student at Estancia High, while Vega is not.
Estancia Principal Michael Halt confirmed the arrests in a statement on the school’s website. Classes were not affected and investigators do not believe there is any “credible threat” to the school following the arrests. Police patrols around the campus Tuesday were increased, however, as a precaution.
Both were being held on $50,000 bail.
Also on Tuesday morning, a 17-year-old male student at Palm Springs High School was arrested for allegedly posting threats and a photo of a juvenile holding a handgun on social media.
While there was an increased police presence at the campus, classes remained in session — a decision Palm Springs High School Principal Brian Hendra said was made after an assessment of the alleged threat.
The high school senior, a resident of Cathedral City, was taken into custody at the Westfield mall in Palm Desert at about 9:30 a.m. Charges against the student are pending, and the investigation was ongoing.
These two incidents are the latest in a series of school threats in the wake of the Saugus High School shooting on Nov. 14 in Santa Clarita in which a student opened fire on his classmates – killing two of them and wounding three more – before turning the gun on himself.
On Nov. 22, an unregistered gun and ammunition were seized and a 13-year-old student was arrested for allegedly planning a mass shooting at his South Los Angeles school.
On Nov. 21, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were notified of a fight which broke out at Pete Knight High School in Palmdale and resulted in several students being detained and suspended. One of those students later posted a picture to social media of himself holding a gun and bullets. After being interviewed and admitting to posting the photo, the boy was arrested on criminal threat charges, the sheriff’s department reported.
On Nov. 20, a 15-year-old student was arrested for allegedly threatening to commit a shooting at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga.
On Nov. 18, a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats and illegal possession of ammunition after allegedly threatening Ramona High School in Riverside. Also that same day, Whittier Christian High School in La Habra canceled classes over a purported threat that was determined not to be credible.