Charges1

Bay High School students were reunited with their parents at Bay Presbyterian Church following the lockdown last January.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two 17-year-old boys, one from Tuscarawas County and the other from Miami, Florida, following a lockdown at Bay Village High School nearly a year ago.

Bay Village Police Lt. Mark Palmer said investigators had developed suspects three hours after the incident on Jan. 29, 2021, when one of them called and said he planned to shoot up the school. That resulted in a full lockdown, response from multiple local police departments and a full sweep of the high school building.

The two teens are being charged with felony inducing panic and other felony offenses. Palmer said their parents may also be financially responsible for damage to the school and overtime pay for the departments involved.

“The students and staff feared for their lives so there were broken windows and doors following the lockdown,” Palmer said.

Palmer said the cases will be handled by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, but the juvenile court system works differently.

“The warrants will be served on them in their own counties and it will depend on the court system whether it’s in person or virtual,” Palmer said. “Adults are extradited to where the crime occurred, but juvenile cases are different.”

Police said they received a phone call from a male who said he was in a bathroom at Bay High with a gun and he was going to shoot up the school, according to a news release from the department.

Police determined that the threat was a “swatting incident,” a prank call to elicit a large-scale emergency response.

“SWAT is usually the ones responding to the fake incident, which is why we call it ‘swatting,’” Palmer said. “The individuals know our response is going to be heavy.”

Palmer said the investigation took nearly a year because it had to be done through various complex avenues, including BitCoin, rerouted IP addresses and social media.

He said that the three detectives on the case learned the inner workings of IP addresses.

“We sent officers to Tuscarawas County and sent our detectives down to Miami, Florida, to question the two juveniles with their parents,” Palmer said. “We were able to get confessions from both.”

Palmer said this case was difficult due to the level of secrecy necessary. It was vital to remain tight-lipped because of how connected people are today, he said.

“These kids aren’t going to do this again,” Palmer said. “I’m proud of the detectives for being able to bring closure to the school and families.”

The Bay Village City School District released a statement thanking the department.

Bay High School Principal Jason Martin said he was proud of the resilience of both the students and the staff on that day and grateful to the police for their work.

“I want to acknowledge the deep impact this incident had on our school and our community,” Martin said. “I’m exceptionally proud of how our students responded to that difficult day, with leadership illustrated on both sides. Our students and staff couldn’t have been any stronger on that day.”

The district said that while this incident did not involve Bay students, there is still a 24/7 tip line for tips or concerns. Text or call 440-517-6160 or email speakup@bayk12.org.

Contact this reporter at mmacarthur@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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