After two threats alluding a mass shooting was to take place at an Orange County school, police said an 18-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested Tuesday.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District said only half of the 1,200 students who attend Estancia High School showed up for class Tuesday.
Costa Mesa police said there were two threats: one claiming there would be a mass shooting Dec. 5 at Estancia High; the other was an image posted to social media, showing a young man in a parka holding what appears to be a weapon, and the words “Tell staff and police this ain’t no joke.”
Before the first school bell rang Tuesday morning, police had searched two homes and made two arrests.
Police have identified one of the suspects as 18-year old Lenny Vega of Costa Mesa. He does not attend Estancia High, but police said the 17-year-old girl who was also arrested for making terrorist threats does go to the school.
Alexis Hernandez didn’t know the 17-year-old student who was arrested, nor why she would target her own school.
“I could feel people more worried over the situation than anything,” she said. “Honestly I feel like it’s something you shouldn’t be doing just to seek attention.”
Costa Mesa police said their dispatch center got dozens of calls from parents who had seen the actual threat online. The first post that rallied the parents was at 11 p.m. Monday night.
Guadalupe Sontoyo has a daughter at Estancia High School. She too called police to report the threat.
“They said, we know we got a lot of calls about the same problem. Don’t worry,'” she said.
District officials say they followed the police department’s lead in deciding to keep the school open Tuesday, knowing it would be tough for some parents to send their children to school.
Vega made his $50,000 bail. The 17-year old girl was taken to juvenile hall. Both are facing charges of making terrorist threats.