An 18-year-old student from the South Butler County School District is accused of making threats online to shoot students.
Jason Bowen, of Middlesex Township, is charged with terroristic threats, causing catastrophe, possession of drug paraphernalia and a weapons offense.
Bowen’s attorney, Pittsburgh-based David Shrager, said his client never intended to follow-through with any kind of threat and said the video that was posted was an inappropriate joke.
“We are aware that this young man made a joke in very, very poor taste. It’s not funny. It’s not appropriate,” Shrager said. “We have to balance the need for safety with rationality and judge each case on its facts and not based out of fear and excitement.”
According to court documents, Bowen posted a video to Snapchat where he fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic, AK-style rifle on his hip. The video was captioned “training for prom walk.”
Bowen is also alleged to have given a thumbs-up to the Sandy Hook school shooting in an Instagram photo posted last February, according to the documents.
Police also found brass knuckles and drug paraphernalia during a search of Bowen’s room.
Bowen was arraigned Monday and remains in the Bulter County Prison in lieu of $25,000 monetary bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16.
Shrager said the family is cooperating with the investigation and said the situation was “very shocking and disheartening for them.”
Shrager said Bowen has no criminal history, and he is working to get him out of jail.
“I certainly understand a judge’s need to be cautious because of the tragedies that have happened across this county,” Shrager said. “That being said, it’s my position that the bond should be lowered, and we will be addressing those matters.”
The district will remain on a modified lockdown for the rest of the day as a safety precaution. Under a modified lockdown, no visitors will be permitted to enter the school buildings.
The district will be operating with tightened security for “the foreseeable future,” according to a message on the district website.
<Video courtesy of Cabot News and Community> pic.twitter.com/Beb8WOEe4G
— MEGHAN SCHILLER (@MeghanKDKA) January 7, 2019
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, email@example.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.
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