A threat of violence prompted school officials today to close Torrey Pines High School for the day and led to the arrest of a former student suspected of committing the crime.
Kevin Gregory Matlak, 21, was taken into custody without incident in the 3300 Fenelon Street in Point Loma early this afternoon on suspicion of making the menacing statements, according to San Diego police, who did not disclose a suspected motive.
Matlak was booked into county jail on suspicion of a felony count of making criminal threats, Capt. Daryl Hoover said.Staffers at the Del Mar Heights Road campus got word about the threat this morning from police, Principal Rob Coppo said in a statement on the school's Facebook page.``The threat included (a reference to) weapons and came from a former student,'' Coppo said, without identifying the alleged perpetrator.
The threat came to light late Wednesday evening, according to Hoover, who also said the communication made reference to ``the possible use of weapons.''During a late-morning briefing at the SDPD's Northwestern Division station, Hoover -- who did not disclose how the threat was issued -- described such incidents as high-priority cases for his department.
``We will investigate threats ... to the fullest extent, and if a crime has occurred, that person will be arrested,'' Hoover told reporters.
School officials opted to close the campus ``in an abundance of caution,'' Coppo said in his online statement, which was posted just after 7 a.m. and advised parents to ``keep your students home today.'' The school also sent an email to parents alerting them to the decision, and calls to the campus' main phone line were answered with a message announcing the closure.
Hoover noted that any and all references to school violence carry great weight amid the recent proliferation of campus shootings.``In today's times, the mere mention of a word or phrase could be alarming to others, even though the person may not have had any criminal intent,'' the police captain told reporters.
The threat is at least the third made against Torrey Pines High since the Feb. 14 shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A 16-year-old boy who was not a student at Torrey Pines High was arrested Feb. 23 for threatening a shooting at the school. His arrest came just a day after a 14-year-old freshman at the campus was arrested for making menacing verbal and written statements.
Those arrests came amid an onslaught of threats and subsequent arrests at local schools following the Valentine's Day school shooting, which left 17 people dead. Just over a month after the Parkland shooting, interim San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that nine juveniles had been arrested locally and charged in connection to 19 different threats.
Officers are also reminding everyone that they can anonymously report threats and other suspicious activity in schools by visiting studentsspeakingout.org.