UPDATE: Mammoth Student Arrested on Terrorist Threat Charges

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

UPDATE April 25, 3 p.m.:

A Mammoth High School student was arrested on charges of suspected felony terrorism threats yesterday, April 24, and is now being held at the Mono County Jail on a no-bail warrant.

The student, Devin Raymond White, 18, was arrested in the morning hours, according to the sheriff's department Citizen RIMS site.

He was arrested without incident and, no weapons were found during the arrest.

White is expected to be arraigned at the Mono County Superior Court in Bridgeport on April 26, according to the county District Attorney, Tim Kendall. Kendall said other charges are likely at some point.

The arrest came after Mammoth Unified School District called a "Red Day" the morning of April 24, at 6 a.m., meaning all schools were closed for the entire day.

Mammoth Unified re-opened all campuses today, April 25 with a strong law enforcement presence on the scene, and with counselors and staff and teachers de-briefed before school started.

Although the reason given at the time of the call was due to a “utility issue,” Superintendent Lois Klein sent a letter later that morning to parents and staff saying the real reason the district closed the schools is because a student had made more than one credible threat of violence to the students and staff. She said that the district then chose to close all campuses so that police could more safely apprehend the suspect.

The Times will continue to follow this story up as it develops and a more detailed story will be released tomorrow in the print edition of the Times.

Here is the letter Klein sent to parents and staff this morning, along with a comment by Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Al Davis:

“Dear Parents,

“I am writing to share with you important information about an incident involving threats of violence to staff and students, and I am relieved to share that law enforcement confirmed this morning that a student alleged to make the threats has been safely apprehended.

“Late yesterday, we began working closely with Mammoth Lakes Police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate alleged threats of violence to our students and staff that were made by a high school student in our district. The student is now being held and questioned by law enforcement, and I assure you that our district will continue to fully cooperate with this important investigation.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our students and staff, and the decision that I made to close schools today was guided by this profound obligation.

“There are many details that I cannot discuss, as we do not want to compromise the investigation and law enforcement’s ability to act on facts and the law, but I will share with you what I can.

“A student was overheard on several occasions to make threats of violence to students and staff at the school, and the district engaged law enforcement to investigate. Late yesterday, I was informed that law enforcement intended to apprehend the student this morning, before school began, and I made a decision to close school because we could not be completely certain that the student was not tipped off to the situation, and, thus might come to school.

“I apologize that I could not offer the full facts regarding a red day, but law enforcement felt they needed the element of surprise in order to be certain they could secure the student and evidence that will inform their continued investigation. The student is not allowed on campus during this investigation.

“Before returning staff and students to school, each campus will be examined by law enforcement to ensure safety. Tomorrow when we will return to school, please be assured that our dedicated staff will be prepared to welcome all students to a calm, focused day of learning.

“As always, our education professionals are prepared to discuss with students important messages about safety and speaking up when and if they ever hear something concerning. Of course, we will be available to students who may want to discuss anxious feelings.”

Below is a statement from MLPD Chief Al Davis:

From Chief Davis:

“After learning about a credible threat of violence in the school, we worked with our Law Enforcement partners and the school district to develop a plan ensure the safety of everyone and complete a thorough investigation. There are many laws on how we can proceed with “threats.” Working closely with the Mono County DA, we obtained proper search and arrest warrants. With those in place, a plan was developed to ensure first the safety of the students first, next the officers and the suspect. After careful consideration, it was determined the safest action would be not to have school in session today. Despite no specific threats made for today's date, we were concerned that yesterday's investigation may encourage quicker action on the part of the suspect if, in fact, he planned to follow through with his statements. Working with the school district, we all decided to call a Red Day. The idea of a power outage was mine, as to not alert the suspect of pending police activity against him. Superintendent Klein was willing to put out this incorrect message to support our investigation. While to many, there may have been an inconvenience, however, we feel the safety of our students far exceeds any inconvenience. “

“Victory Favors the Prepared”
Chief Al Davis
Mammoth Lakes Police Department

Klein continued:

“I am grateful to the law enforcement agencies for taking swift action to help ensure our safety. And again, I apologize for any inconvenience to you and your families due to the school closure, but I am confident that vigilant attention to staff and student safety must never be compromised.

“If you have any questions, I can be reached at... 760-934-6802 ext. 511.”