Stadium High School student pleads not guilty in threat case

A plea of not guilty was entered Monday on behalf of a 16-year-old Tacoma boy charged with a hate crime for allegedly threatening to kill a fellow Stadium High School student.

The teen, arrested last week, remains confined in Remann Hall juvenile detention center until a hearing next Monday. He’s been suspended from school, according to court records.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged him with one count of malicious harassment and one count of felony harassment.

Charging papers give the following account:

On Dec. 6, the teen sent a racially offensive text message to a fellow student and challenged him to a fight. The boys met in the school cafeteria the next day, but school security officials broke things up before they got out of hand.

The boys went to a nearby parking lot to try again, but police were in the area and dispersed them. The boys then moved on to another part of town, where the boy who was later arrested again called the other teenager racially offensive names.

Police on routine patrol spotted them and once again dispersed the crowd before fisticuffs erupted.

The boy charged with harassment later sent the other student a string of text messages that included profanity, threats and more racially offensive language.

One message made reference to a gun; another said, “Watch your back tomorrow,” court records state.

The girlfriend of the boy receiving the messages notified some friends about threats, which were passed on to others. Some people who got the messages told their parents, who called police.

Police dispatched two dozen officers to the school Wednesday “in an effort to identify the threat and diffuse the situation,” court records state.

No shooting occurred, and no gun was found at the school.

Police arrested the boy accused of making the threats and two other boys, ages 16 and 17, who allegedly were carrying weapons. Those boys were released Thursday because they were first-time offenders.