Extra patrols at Ceres High after rumors of school shooting, fire alarms pulled

At Ceres High School on Friday, there was a heavy police presence, additional school staff and passing periods shortened to keep students inside classrooms as much as possible.

The precautions were taken because a threatening photo and message were circulated on Snapchat Thursday and the fire alarm has been pulled every day this week, said Ceres police Sgt. Greg Yotsuya.

“We became aware of rumors of a school shooting that was supposed to occur at Ceres High School on Friday,” he said in a press release.

The threat circulated on Snapchat is the sentence “CHS be ready” superimposed over the image of what appears to be an automatic rifle.

Investigators determined the image came from an advertisement from the United Kingdom, Yotsuya said. The firearm pictured is actually an Airsoft rifle, but the image was cropped so that the Airsoft user manual was not shown, Yotsuya said.

Police are working to determine where the original modified image came from.

Yotsuya said school officials believe they have identified the student who pulled the fire alarm twice on Thursday, but they don’t know if it’s the same student who did it the other days.

He said officials do not believe there is a credible threat to students but out of an abundance of caution have implemented safety measures and added extra patrols not just at Ceres High School but at every school in the Ceres Unified School District.

“We take every rumor and threat to the safety of the students in the CUSD seriously,” Yotsuya said in the release. “Every effort to identify the person responsible for creating this image will be made.”

A message sent by the school district to parents on Thursday said, “There is now social media activity among students suggesting that the rumors be used as a basis for missing school.”

Erin has been covering breaking news and crime at The Modesto Bee since 2010. She is a Humboldt State graduate and resides in Oakdale.