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Two freshmen charged with posting 'hit list' at high school

Exactly one week after it was first posted in a Sunnyside High School bathroom, local police last night found the culprits they say are responsible for a list that threatened violence to more than a dozen students.

Sunnyside police say that two 14-year-old freshman boys admitted to writing and posting the list. The students were arrested sometime between 4 and 6 p.m. yesterday, according to School Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole.

Following their arrests, the teens were transferred to the custody of Yakima County juvenile detention, pending the filing of multiple counts of "felony harassment." Police are still investigating the students' motives in posting the list.

The list, found Monday, April 9, had more than a dozen names of students who were threatened with violence to happen on Friday, April 13.

The district in response upped security measures and conducted searches of vehicles, lockers and bags.

In a joint press release issued by the school district and Sunnyside Police, Chief Ed Radder noted, "It is our intent to treat these types of situations with the utmost seriousness, even if the threat turns out to be made in jest."

In addition to facing criminal charges, the students will also be disciplined at school under the district's "zero tolerance" policy.

Cole said this morning that high school principal Brian Hart will make a decision on what punishment to mete out to the students. Cole indicated the likely course of action will be expulsion once normal due process is followed.

Police located the two teens after following a large number of tips. "One of those just paid off," Cole noted.

He said additional school counselors will be on hand for students, and a debriefing session is planned with school administration and student leadership.

School security is back to normal levels, he added. "It's a normal learning environment."

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