PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Two teenagers were arrested after police said they were alerted to videos on social media of one of the suspects posing with firearms and making threats to a Pittsburgh Public school.
The investigation started on Nov. 20 when police responded to a report of a young man with a gun on campus. The school was placed on lockdown. The suspect was never found, but according to the criminal complaint, teachers became aware of social media posts where a young man displayed a handgun and an assault rifle referencing dismissal at Pittsburgh Milliones University Preparatory School.
With the help of the ATF, police were able to trace the post to a 17-year-old former student living on Rose Street in the Hill District.
As police observed the home, on Thursday, they saw a man later identified as 18-year-old Jackiel Young leave and get into the passenger side of a box truck. Police then stopped the truck and found Young was in possession of a pistol with a 50-round drum magazine, and a search warrant found a fully automatic switch for a Glock, ammunition and marijuana in his backpack. Young was arrested and taken to the Allegheny County Jail.
Police said the 17-year-old in the social media videos later left the home and got into the backseat of a vehicle. The vehicle was stopped and the 17-year-old was found to have an AK-47 and two pistols. In his bedroom, police said they found the social media post on his computer. He was arrested and then released to an adult family member.
Investigators believed the threat was credible, but there was no indication the two were en route to the school because police stopped them in the evening, Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto said.
"It's a testament to the great work of our law enforcement partners in working what is obvious to me and to us a direct threat on the students of University Prep and in that we were able to mitigate serious harm and damage to our community," Scirotto said.
Scirotto expressed dismay that after all of their work, the 17-year-old was released to his mother's custody. He decried the absence of a juvenile detention center like Shuman, which has been closed for the past two years.
"Without a detention center, without available beds, we know that this juvenile is a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of every member of our community and yet we cannot place them in a facility to mitigate that harm," Scirotto said.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey released a statement praising police officers.
"Pittsburgh, our dedicated officers, through collaboration with the ATF and PPS officers, were able to interrupt what could have been a major act of violence near one of our schools," Gainey said. "that our officers, through their proactive policing and community partnership, have been able to keep our city and our kids safe at school. Please join me in thanking them for their dedication and determination in keeping us safe. This serves as a reminder that we all have a role to play in making Pittsburgh the safest city in America, remember if you see something, reach out and say something - we have the ability to save lives by speaking up."
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