Teen arrested for fake WMD at San Gabriel Elementary

October 15, 2015

9019473_GAuthorities have arrested a 17-year-old Atascadero boy who they say placed a fake weapon of mass destruction at San Gabriel Elementary School. Police say the teen acted alone.

On Sept. 11, the San Luis Obispo County bomb squad removed a suspicious jar containing chemicals that was zip-tied to a fence near the playground at the Atascadero elementary school. Officers also found threatening letters that were addressed to teachers and left around the campus.

Laboratory test results showed the suspicious substance was sodium ferrocyanide mixed with a mildly acidic liquid. The substance was not capable of producing a dangerous gas, but it could have caused significant injury or death if a person ingested it, Atascadero police say.

Sodium ferrocyanide has common uses, including in photography and welding.

The substance officers found at the elementary was inside a six-inch candle jar. The wax had been removed from the candle holder, and a brown colored liquid was inside it.

A note placed nearby said the jar contained cyanide mixed with a strong acid.

The letters addressed to teachers contained instructions for locating a key. The letters directed teachers to the jar with the suspicious substance.

The notes also discussed playing a game and warned that children could be at risk.

“If these tasks are not completed by 8:00 a.m., there will be consequences to follow, possibly affecting the children. Make your choice,” the letters stated.

Atascadero police say the letters contained language that resembled the horror movie “Saw.”

Investigators are currently trying to determine whether the suspect tried to pin the acts on another juvenile.

The Atascadero Police Department conducted a joint investigation with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI. Law enforcement officers served search warrants Wednesday morning and arrested the teen.

They previously identified him and interviewed him. Police say investigators traced the purchase of some of the items in the case to the boy.

Authorities are not identifying the 17-year-old.

He is charged with using a facsimile weapon of mass destruction and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. The teen is currently in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Juvenile Detention Center.

It is currently unclear whether the teen will be prosecuted as a juvenile or an adult.

Students returned to San Gabriel Elementary late last month after spending two weeks at nearby schools.




  1. malovato says:

    THAT is good police work!! Wow. Impressive.

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. ToHellinaHandBasket says:

    The 20/21st Century. The age of high tech. Computers, Internet, Cell Phones, [which schools allow students to have on them at all times], bad idea.

    Public schools teach humans evolved from primordial swamp then evolved into apes, then human. Blah, blah, blah. And then we’re astounded at stories like this.

    If the truth were to be taught in public education, [Creationism] by a Holy God, there would be many less issues as this story. Yet, our children are taught that they evolved from the lowest life form to what they have become. Nothing but an animal. No different from the Horse, Beaver, Cat, Dog, etc.

    But yet the media reports on things like this? Of course this 17 year old is an animal. It’s what he’s been taught to beleive. Next step, an insanity defense. Always blame it on insanity. Mental illness. God forbid that we should accept the responsibilty for our own sinful nature.

    (-7) 15 Total Votes - 4 up - 11 down
  3. shelworth says:

    Watches too much TV and plays too many video games I think.

    (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down

    First all Hollywood has been making horror movies forever. I myself was raised on the Freddy , Jason and Michael Meyers type movies. I’ve seen the SAW movies too. I have never had the mentality to go and harm anyone.

    There has been deviants who have had that mentality since time was created. Way before Hollywood came along.

    Yes the kid should be punished and tried as a adult. Lock up forever, not sure. Parents should of had some kind of clue what there kid was up to. If they didn’t they should really re think their parenting skills.

    Thankfully no one got hurt, yes the parents of the kids that went to school there had to do some talking with their own kids. Unfortunately these days it happens more and is on the news more. It’s possible that now they know there are people who do bad things in this world , they will be better prepared to handle a situation if one does happen again.

    But to blame Hollywood, music or whatever the flavor of the month is about as ignorant as blaming a shark for biting a human.

    (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
  5. indigo1955 says:

    I hesitate to reply to some of the “he’s a punk”, “unplug the tv and go play outside”, and the “Hollywood is just out-of-control” comments here. Let’s put it this way: do any of you actually know what a PCL-R is…much less how to administer one? Okay, now that we have cleared that one up–I can tell you with impunity that this is a VERY dangerous person with a VERY dangerous personality disorder. Your “normal” adolescent (or even one with conduct disorder) does not EVER do things like this, nor is this particular personality disorder treatable. Fact: providing therapy to this sort of individual only allows them to become highly manipulative. There is no answer except to remove them from society so that they do not exploit and harm the public. This sort of person can harm others in ways that are shocking and twisted. I have no doubt that with the right knowledge—this person would love to do grave harm to children. THIS is why this was all so “hushed” and the police diverted children away from that school for so long. There were higher level profilers at work here. With this person not in custody—they recognized what they had on their hands: a monster.

    (17) 23 Total Votes - 20 up - 3 down
    • JimF says:

      I doubt it. Children who act out like this are usually the product of bullying or abuse, are angry, and overtime they develop a distrust of people. Combined with the basic human need to have some semblance of control — power — over your situation, you have instances like this. He distrusts others and his response was to go on the offense against them; you distrust him and your response is to go on the offense against him, lock him up, and deprive him of life chances. Is there really any difference between you and him? Virtually all social science research conducted over the last 2 decades indicates that even the toughest of cases can be rehabilitated.

      (-17) 21 Total Votes - 2 up - 19 down
      • indigo1955 says:

        Why would you make this claim without providing a citation? Because there is no research–that is why. You don’t distrust and then create a terrorist situation that will make school children frightened and play mind games with teachers. This is sociopathy—plain and simple. I challenge you to show me studies that say sociopaths can be remediated!

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
  6. Rambunctious says:

    Atascadero police say the letters contained language that resembled the horror movie “Saw.”
    Can we get off of the anti 2nd amendment movement now and tackle this problem at it’s roots? Hollywood is out of control and has been for a long time.

    (-3) 31 Total Votes - 14 up - 17 down
    • kettle says:

      So it’s Hollywood’s fault, whats next banning and burning books because someone read something and had a bad idea? Perhaps a media monitoring branch of the government to regulate “dangerous writing and cartoons” like the Chinese web police monitor the internet

      The lack of education is out of control, Rambunctious burning some books won’t help.

      (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down
      • Rambunctious says:

        “So it’s Hollywood’s fault” not completely but the movie and entertainment industry is not helping. You either want to heal our society or you don’t and when something stands in the way of that it needs to be exposed not excused.
        There was a time when movies promoted healthy American values and songs where about love not hos. Slasher films like Saw do affect young minds in a negative way, there is influence.
        How in the world you go to “burning books” with what I have posted I will never understand. When a person leaps that far he leaps over valleys of fact and reason.

        (0) 12 Total Votes - 6 up - 6 down
        • kettle says:

          “Hollywood is out of control”

          Control or limiting the story of what some movie or TV producer makes, you can do “this” but not show “this” leads to book burning and morals committees who get to decide what we can watch, nanny state indeed.

          Gave a child a bad idea? go to prison.

          Rambunctious says:”When a person leaps that far he leaps over valleys of fact and reason.” No Rambunctious you lack logic and critical thinking, I have seen people burn books to control the spread of ideas, you blaming Hollywood? It is really all about parents slacking off.

          It is really all about education and logic, not about blaming others.

          “But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.”
          ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

          (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
          • Rambunctious says:

            “Control or limiting the story of what some movie or TV producer makes, you can do “this” but not show “this” leads to book burning and morals committees who get to decide what we can watch, nanny state indeed”

            We already do this. We have set standards. Make a snuff film and you will go to prison. Make a porn film and you can’t broadcast it on network television. I’m not talking about a nanny state as you call it (there is that leap again) I’m calling for people to do the right thing.
            How many tragedies do we need to live through before the movie business wakes up and applies a bit of discretion? Self discipline and a sense of decency would go along way to cleaning up their industry.
            You can’t show ads for certain goods on television and there are tough language standards for radio. So relax with the Book Burning Nanny State comparisons. lol

            (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • JimF says:

      Art mimics culture and society much more than it impacts it. We live in a me-first society and whenever we have a problem our first response is to kill or lock-up the persons involved instead of understanding the causes and preventing the situation from occurring in the first place. When you treat people like animals, they are going to behave like animals.

      (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
      • Rambunctious says:

        “Art mimics culture and society much more than it impacts it”

        I do not agree…it was that way a long time ago but times have changed. Movies and music have a tremendous amount of influence on young people. We can expose them to bad or we can expose them to good. I choose good.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  7. surferdude says:

    To all you mothers of young boys

    UNPLUG the television, the video games and computer!


    (28) 38 Total Votes - 33 up - 5 down
  8. Perspicacious says:

    If there was ever a case for naming the little punk this was it! Why do we protect the names of juvenile criminals? Stupid…

    (28) 50 Total Votes - 39 up - 11 down

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