The Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. has made the following statement regarding a “thwart of potential armed violence” at Lake Ridge New Tech Middle School in Gary:
“Lake County Sheriff’s Department investigators have been working tirelessly this weekend to gather intelligence and locate potential witnesses and suspects after receiving information on possible social media threats against Lake Ridge New Tech Middle School in Gary.
“A social media post threatened an active shooter scenario at 9 a.m. Monday at the school. The post included a photo of several assault rifles, and named a teacher as a potential victim.
“Over the weekend, a Lake County detective was made aware of the threatening post and began to track its origin. Other Lake County Sheriff’s Department Detectives joined the search, gathering potential evidence to apply for search warrants related to the threats.
“So far, at least three juveniles, 11,12, and 13 years old, have been identified as potential suspects and will be interviewed.
“The 11-year-old is now in custody at the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center.
“Criminal charges are pending through the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.
“The mother of the 11-year-old suspect has been arrested on an outstanding warrant for neglect of a dependent. To protect the identity of the child, the mother’s name will not be released at this time. The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office May decide whether to provide this information.
“Our Real-Time Crime Unit, which will launch next year will enhance our capability to prevent critical incidents and threats similar to this one by providing a central clearinghouse for data gathered from sources including social media and for coordinating crime-fighting resources.
“I am extremely proud of the work our officers are doing on this case to prevent an emergency. Even if the posts turn out to be a hoax, we want to be clear that this type of suspicious behavior will not be tolerated in Lake County, Indiana. We have a dedicated team of analysts who specialize in electronic media investigations. To those who would attempt to threaten lives in Lake County and hide behind social media – we will identify you, we will find you and we will prosecute you.”
-Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr.