An 18-year-old Skyview High student, arrested after a shooting threat prompted more than 70 percent of the Nampa school’s students to stay home, allegedly stoked the anxiety by posting on Instagram an image of an ominous-looking figure in a Skyview hallway 24 hours before bathroom graffiti warned that a school shooting was planned.
That 10:23 a.m. Monday Instagram post is described in the probable cause affidavit filed by the school resource officer Wednesday, the day Martin P. Soto was arrested. The threatening graffiti, written in red on a wall, said a school shooting was planned for 10:24 a.m. Tuesday. Nothing happened Tuesday, but only 378 students attended school that day while 937 stayed home.
A 16-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, also was arrested Monday and faces juvenile charges of disturbing the peace and making threats of violence on school grounds. Police declined to describe the younger boy’s alleged actions. Juvenile cases are typically sealed from the public in Idaho.
The threat created tremendous anxiety among families and a lot of extra work for the Nampa Police Department and school district, police spokesman Sgt. Tim Riha said. Police have had an increased presence at the school all week to help ensure safety and reassure people, he said.
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Soto, legally an adult, faces a felony charge of grand theft by possessing lost property: a handgun. Soto told NPD Sgt. Jason Cantrell that he found the handgun and bullets and displayed them in a video with the song “Pumped Up Kicks,” the lyrics of which describe the homicidal thoughts of a troubled youth. Cantrell said other Skyview students had shown him a photo of the handgun and said it had come from Soto. The handgun and some ammunition were recovered from a shed behind Soto’s home, police said.
As for the Instagram post, Soto told police that he took the photo of a person in a trench coat because the figure “looked to be a school shooter,” and he time-stamped it to relate to the graffiti threat that was already creating great fear.
“Martin stated he thought it was funny; however, he realized it was serious,” Cantrell wrote in the affidavit.
Riha said police have not confirmed whether one of the two arrested teens wrote the bathroom wall threat or whether another person was involved. But any action a person takes to further the threat, such as promoting it on social media, is illegal.
A school district spokeswoman said Wednesday that officials have not determined disciplinary measures for the two teens arrested. Attendance was “back to normal” at the high school on Thursday, the spokeswoman said.
Soto was arraigned Wednesday in 3rd District Court and was ordered released to the county’s pretrial release program. His preliminary hearing on the felony charge is set for April 26.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447