CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Police dropped charges against a Capital High School student Wednesday morning after learning a message on a photo of the student holding a pellet gun had been photoshopped on Snapchat.


Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper

“He had placed something on there about a birthday,” Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper said during an appearance Wednesday on WCHS Radio’s 580 Live hosted by Charleston Mayor Danny Jones. “In the meanwhile, some other students have photoshopped that to make it appear that he had said he was going to kill some people at school.”

According to Cooper, the photoshopped message said, “You’re all going to die for what you’ve been saying about me, b….”

Police charged the 16-year-old with making a terroristic threat after being alerted to the message over the weekend. Cooper said some of those students who contacted police now likely face charges.

“At a minimum we believe that we’ll file charges for filing a false police report and there may be other charges,” Cooper said. “It’s illegal to present something like that to police to get someone in trouble. That filing a false report in a crime in and of itself.”

Cooper said the original photo that had the student holding a pellet gun and a birthday message was “very disturbing but doesn’t rise to a level of a crime.”

Cooper said police made the right decision when they originally decided to charge the student. He called the situation between the students “a mess.”

“The kids have gotten together–there was more than one of them that did it–it was a bit of a conspiracy against this kid. He put himself in a position with that photograph for someone to do that but it’s illegal to do it to him,” Cooper said.

The boy had been held in the Tiger Morton juvenile detention facility for more than two days when the charges were dropped.

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