TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Tavian Da’Rece Burns, 16, with felony harassment for using his Twitter account to threaten a shooting at Franklin Pierce High School. Burns is scheduled to appear today at 1:30 p.m. at Remann Hall in Tacoma.
On Oct. 27, 2014, rumors of a potential school shooting circulated among students at Franklin Pierce High School. That evening, Burns tweeted, “attention! attention! It’s me that is shooting up the school tomorrow so be prepared and goodnight! I’m shooting up the school bro! sshh.” Several students told their parents about the threat, and the parents called police.
“We take any threat to the safety of our children seriously,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “While this may have been ill-conceived humor, it’s still a crime. Parents should talk to their children about the perils of social media.”
When police contacted Burns, he told them he was the class clown and was “only joking” when he tweeted the threats. He told police that he thought with all the Twitter and Facebook postings about the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting it would be funny to say he was going to shoot up his school. When asked about his access to guns, Burns said his step-father stores the family’s guns in a safe.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office