Student, 14, threatens to 'shoot up' Gunn High School on Palo Alto police Instagram account

Palo Alto police took a 14-year-old Gunn High School student into custody for a mental health evaluation after officers say they wrote that they wanted to "shoot up" the high school on the department's Instagram page. 

Sgt. Craig Lee did not identify the gender of the student in a news release, but added that the student may face criminal charges for what he or she wrote even though police found the threats to be unfounded. 

Lee said that about 6 p.m. on Thursday, police noticed the threat on Instagram by a user whose account profile had no identifying information on it. The user wrote that they were going to “shoot up” Gunn High School at 780 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto.

Without saying how, detectives and school resource officers were quickly able to identify the suspect, Lee said. At about 8:40 p.m., police contacted the teen at their home in Palo Alto and took the student into custody for a mental health evaluation. Police searched the student’s home and found no weapons. After the initial investigation, police believe the student had no real intent to carry out a shooting.

Still, Lee said police will submit the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Probation Department for review for criminal charges.

Lee said that unfounded threats "are not only criminal in nature, but can also create a great deal of stress and anxiety for students, parents, school staff, and the community in general."

Lee said in this case, it's unclear how many people saw the student's comment.

By coincidence, Gunn High School is holding a "Run, Hide, Defend" lockdown and lesson Friday morning. 

Anyone with information about this incident should call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.