Trumbull juvenile prosecutor seeing major increase in threat cha - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Trumbull juvenile prosecutor seeing major increase in threat charges

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WARREN, Ohio -

The Trumbull County juvenile prosecutor's office says they have seen an immense increase in charges of inducing panic filed against teenagers in the county. 

Stanley Elkins, the juvenile prosecutor, says that in just one week he has filed charges against eight or nine students. 

Elkins says the increase is drastic. So much so, that it's one of the first times he's specifically tracked how many of those charges are being filed. 

Attorney Elkins said that they are taking each threat seriously.  Every instance is being investigated to the fullest extent so that nothing slips through the cracks. 

With that mindset, Elkins says they have changed the way things are run, saying that anytime police have probable cause to believe a threat could be credible the student in question will be arrested. 

Elkins said from there they will be taken to the justice center where they will be "sitting in jail" while an investigation is completed. 

According to the prosecutor's office, the threats have become a problem and having a chain reaction. Elkins said law enforcement is trying to keep up with the deluge of calls and investigate every potential threat to make sure the Valley's children are safe. 

After that, the charges then tie up the court system. 

That's why the prosecutor is doing research into Ohio law to see if there could be additional charges tacked on whenever a "hoax" or "threat" ties up law enforcement, investigative resources, and court time. 

Elkins said that of the charges he's filed over the past week, three have been in Niles, with other cases in Warren, Weathersfield, Howland, Lordstown, and more. 

Included in those cases is one in which a Niles 15-year-old allegedly told classmates to wear certain colored shirts so that he wouldn't accidentally shoot them. 

Police investigated that incident this week and found the student to have maps of the school, a list of 16 names, and allegedly said that he had access to an AR-15. 

That teen has since been charged. 

Howland Police arrested one high school student for allegedly inducing panic on Friday. The chief said that the student made threats of bringing a gun to school and he won't be released from the Juvenile Justice Center until he has a psychological evaluation.

Elkins said that teens charged with inducing panic can face up to a year in jail and reiterated that everyone is taking threats, even as jokes or hoaxes, about school shootings very seriously. 

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