STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ) – A 17-year-old boy is being held on a $20,000 bond after police say he threatened to shoot up Henry Ford II High School.
Sterling Heights police say they were made aware of the threat when it was reported by a student from Mohegan High School in Clinton Twp., who saw it on social media.
Police said the attack was to occur this Thursday, March 8, and “would be of similar nature of the attack that occurred in Parkland Florida” — a mass shooting in which 17 people were killed and 16 were injured last month.
Following an investigation by the Sterling Heights Detective Bureau, Community Response officers searched for and located the suspect, identified as Ethan McElrath of Sterling Heights.
He was arrested and arraigned on a charge of making threats of domestic terrorism, which is a felony that carries a penalty of up to 20- years in prison. If released on bond, McElrath will have to wear a GPS tether.
Police note that McElrath does not attend HFII, nor is he a former student. It’s unclear at this time why he chose to target the school.
Amid a string of similar incidents across metro Detroit, authorities want to remind the public that each and every threat of this nature will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“I can’t stress this enough,” said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. “If you haven’t done so already, I urge every parent, teacher and administrator to take time out of their day to discuss the rash of arrests that have occurred since the senseless tragedy in Parkland, Florida. Don’t wait — have the discussion now.”
Attorney General Bill Schuette says tips about safety threats in Michigan schools set a record in February with 670 reports. There were 119 tips about planned school attacks last month, compared to 146 in all of 2017. Suicide threats were the most-reported tip at 127.
Students can make confidential tips to the state through an app, text message, email or the OK2Say website. [Get details here]. Tips are screened by staff at the Michigan State Police and shared with schools and local police.
[MORE: Guns, Ammo Found At Home Of Teen Who Made Threat Against Utica High School; Clinton Township Teen Facing Terrorism Charge In School Threat Case; Student Jailed On Terror Charge For Threat To Shoot Up L’anse Creuse High School]