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October 23, 2018

4/13/2018 2:55:00 PM
Juvenile tied to NBHS shooting threat to enter residential treatment facility

The 17-year-old North Branch male, arrested for threatening to use a firearm at North Branch High School in February, will be getting treatment in a residential in-patient facility. He must stay away from all North Branch school buildings and grounds, and write an apology to school officials for his conduct.

He was sentenced April 6 as part of a plea agreement entered into March 7, where he pled guilty to terroristic threats. (see Press March 15)

The defendant has been held in the Regional Juvenile Center since his arrest Feb. 24.

The hearings and court records are public information in this case due to the defendant being older than 16, and, if an adult had committed this offense, it would be a felony.

At the juvenile delinquency hearing it was recommended that the youth would best be able to address his underlying anger issues through participation in a residential program, in Grand Rapids,MN which approved admittance, but won’t have a vacancy for several days, Judge James Reuter was advised. This is a six to nine month program.

Reuter opted to continue to have the teen held at the regional detention facility until the residential treatment bed is available.

Judge Reuter remarked that part of him wanted to give the defendant a break, for his cooperation with law enforcement and for behaving well at the regional facility. Reuter continued, however, stating another part of him saw there are influences on this teen’s life that are not positive and exert pressure to behave in a manner that gotthe defendant into trouble. Reuter hesitated to release him to family and friends that day.

Reuter stated, “We are all acutely aware of the number of people who have been killed (the Parkland Florida school shooting was just 10 days before this arrest) and we need to do all we can to make sure school is a safe place. When you make comments (threats) it’s very serious,” he told the defendant.

Assistant County Attorney Aimee Cupelli said the prosecution agrees that the treatment program ought to provide for the best outcomes in this situation.

Additional conditions include the defendant will comply with random searches in the future, no firearm possession, no use of alcohol or substances, etc.

After six months the defendant will be back in district court for a review hearing and if conditions of disposition are being met, including community work service hours, there will be no adjudication on his record.

The existence of a verbal threat attributed to the defendant was sent along February 24 to North Branch Police. The tipster had overheard what they thought was a future school shooting threat.

The teen was identified to North Branch Police who executed a search of his residence immediately finding no operable firearms. The teen was in custody by late evening Feb. 24. Authorities said in a release that when the suspect was interrogated he said he was referring to previous threats he had made.

The defendant was not attending North Branch High School in February. He was enrolled in Pathways to Change, under the Chisago Lakes School District umbrella. The upcoming residential treatment program includes an education component.

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