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Two teens charged after Instagram post falsely threatened school shooting

Two teens are in custody after police in Dauphin County say they posted on Instagram what was at first believed to be a threat of a school shooting.

The posting, which Lower Paxton Township Police have since deemed to never have been a credible threat, led to an increased police presence at the Central Dauphin East High School on Thursday.

The 13 and 14-year-old boys will be charged as juveniles with multiple crimes, police say.

According to investigators, the incident occurred like this:

A grandmother called the police around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday after her grandson saw a posting on Instagram that threatened an active shooting at Central Dauphin East High School. 

The post showed a teenage male holding what appeared to be a handgun, and messages between the person who made the original post and another person indicated there would be a shooting at the school, but did not specify a time.

Police investigated and soon learned the photo was taken from a much earlier YouTube video, which had nothing to do with a threat of violence against Central Dauphin East or anyone connected with the school.

The person associated with the account was confirmed to be in Florida, and the account holder no longer controlled the account on which the photo and threat were posted.

It became clear the post lacked credibility and there was no threat of a shooting, police say, but the school and law enforcement boosted safety protocols with an increased police presence on Thursday. 

As a result of the continuing investigation, the two Central Dauphin School District teens were identified as the people who were responsible for the postings. Due to their ages, police are not releasing their identities or additional information about them.

School officials say classes are continuing as scheduled and the school’s students are safe. 

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