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Middle school student pleads not guilty in family threats case

A 12-year-old Duvall boy pleaded not guilty to felony harassment of family members in an arraignment last Thursday, Nov. 4, in King County Juvenile Court.

The youth, who was expelled from Tolt Middle School in October after a family member, was charged Oct. 11 after Duvall Police investigated allegations of threats of violence by the teen against his family, teachers and students.

A case-setting hearing is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12. A juvenile court judge has ordered that the boy be held in secure detention.

According to charging documents, the boy had run away from home several times this year, most recently on October 4. His family learned that he was staying in a camper on a nearby residence, and called police, who found two shotguns and a handgun inside. When a family member spoke to the teen about the firearm, he said that he planned to kill more than 20 people, including teachers, students who teased him, and his family.

On the morning of Oct. 6, the boy was brought to school after his bedroom and backpack were searched for weapons. A family member called the school and told staff that he may have hidden a weapon in his locker. No weapons were found.

Court documents state that, after careful consideration, school officials expelled the boy on an emergency basis. Police took him into protective custody.

Talking to police, the teen said that he was tired of being picked on, and wanted to point a gun at bullies and show them “who’s boss.”

Duvall Police Chief Glenn Merriman told the Valley Record that the processes of justice will have to show how close the Tolt Middle School Community came to a tragedy.

"The discussions we had were serious," Duvall Police Chief Glenn Merriman said. "He needed to put in juvenile detention. We were not going to put the public at risk."

In a letter to parents, the Riverview School District stated that no guns were found at school, and no written 'hit list' was ever found.

"When information is provided, schools and officers must respond quickly and appropriately," the letter stated. "This was done in this case. We regret that this situation has caused fear and uncertainty to students, staff, parents, and the community. We learned that even if something is turned over to law enforcement, it would be advisable for the district to communicate (the) current status of a possible threat with parents."

The teen was also charged October 21 in juvenile court with second-degree assault for choking his sister during a September 9 argument.

The boy’s mother told police that she was in the process of placing him in a juvenile behavior modification facility in Montana.

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