A 16-year-old student at a Burbank high school was arrested after police said he posted an online threat that referenced the Columbine school shooting.
The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of making criminal threats, Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.
After being taken to the police station, the John Burroughs High School student was released to his parents, whom Ryburn said were cooperative. Police did not find any weapons in their home.
Several students and parents called police about 6 Tuesday evening to report a threatening post on Twitter directed at a student. Ryburn said the post mentioned a "Columbine-type shooting."
Police contacted school officials and went to the boy's house and arrested him. Ryburn said it seems to be an "isolated incident."
Ryburn praised the parents and students who came forward. People should always report such disturbing posts to police, he said, and let them determine whether they're real threats.
"If they're out there, we need to be made aware of them even if it's a (joking) threat," Ryburn said. "We can at least identify those individuals and put them into the system for the future."
State law only criminalizes a threat that is "unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific," meaning even people who have written disturbing posts have not been charged with making threats.
They include a Valencia man living near two schools whom sheriff's detectives said referenced last year's Colorado theater massacre and wrote, "Looking out a window and see some little kids I wouldn't mind murdering at all."
He was arrested in September but charged only with a weapons violation.
In December, Los Angeles police arrested a Pomona man whom they said referenced the Newtown, Conn., school shooting and wrote two days afterward that he would do the same thing at multiple schools.
He was freed the next day without charges.
In the case of the Burbank teen arrested Tuesday, Ryburn said it appears the law does apply.
"This was a direct threat to an individual," he said.