FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 6, 2014
On Wednesday afternoon, April 16, 2014, at 12:40, the City of Bethlehem 911 Center received a 911 call from a young male stating that three males had just entered Liberty High School armed with guns.
Police units were dispatched to the School and the school was placed in lockdown. A systematic search of the school and campus was conducted by Police. While at the scene, a report of a possible gunshot in the building and a report of a male with a weapon were received.
The Bethlehem Police Department, along with the Bethlehem Area School District, has in place a protocol dealing with threats to schools. That protocol was immediately enacted and followed. The result of the search for the three armed males was negative. The other two reports were deemed unfounded.
The 911 call placed to the Police 911 Center appears to be a fake call or hoax. The Bethlehem Police Department was assisted at the scene by Troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police Bethlehem Barracks, the FBI, and assistance from Allentown Police. Bethlehem Fire and Bethlehem EMS responded and assisted.
The total cost to City of Bethlehem taxpayers, because of this fake call or hoax, is being calculated and is expected to be in the thousands of dollars. The emotional cost of this event to students, teachers, staff and parents can not be calculated in the same manner.
A criminal investigation was immediately started by City of Bethlehem Detectives with assistance from the FBI into the caller of this fake call or hoax. A cell phone number was ascertained from computerized dispatch records at the BPD 911 Center. The cell phone number was tracked down to a local Walmart store where a disposable cell phone was purchased. Information obtained thru additional investigation was placed out thru RIIC, the Regional Investigation Information Center run by the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, and PACIC, the Pennsylvania Crime Information Center run by the Pennsylvania State Police, to law enforcement agencies throughout the Lehigh Valley area and state. The analysis and information sharing systems used by RIIC and the Officer David Petzold Forensic Computer Crime Lab proved extremely important in advancing this investigation forward.
Late On May, 5 2014, an Allentown Police Officer, acting on information and intelligence he viewed and received from RIIC, stopped a vehicle in Allentown which contained two individuals depicted in the RIIC information. The vehicle was impounded pending investigation and both young males detained pending investigation.
Thru additional investigation, City of Bethlehem Detectives obtained search warrants which were served on a residence at 525 Atlantic Street in Bethlehem and on the impounded vehicle. The sunglasses and clothing items that one young male wore when the cell phone was purchased were recovered inside the vehicle. The cell phone and box was recovered from inside the residence.
On Tuesday afternoon, May 6, 2014, Shae Quawn Najee Watson, age 25, of 815 E. Emmaus Ave., Allentown, Pa. 18103, was arrested by Detective Moses Miller in this incident. Charges were approved by Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck. Shae Quawn Najee Watson is presently being charged with the following criminal offenses:
(3) Counts Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Terroristic Threats – Felony Grading
(1) Count Criminal Conspiracy to Commit False Alarms to Agencies of Public Safety – Felony Grading
(1) Count Criminal Conspiracy to Commit False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities – Misd. Grade
Shae Quawn Najee Watson was arraigned this afternoon before Northampton County District Judge Roy Manwarring III on the above charges and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of bail of $100,000.00 .
On April 16, 2014, approximately 2100 students, plus staff, faculty and visitors were present in Liberty High School when this incident occurred. Their lives were interfered with by the unlawful and immature actions of the male charged in this incident. The unnecessary worry and stress caused to the parents of students inside Liberty High School during the lockdown can not be expressed in words that are printable in the media.
This investigation is not over and still is ongoing by City Detectives and other agencies. The City of Bethlehem Police Department and the Bethlehem Area School District is committed to the safety of all students and school district personnel. The City of Bethlehem Police Department is committed to finding all the individuals involved in this incident and bringing them to justice. City Detectives are continuing to investigate and additional charges and/or arrests are possible.
I would personally like to say thank you to Dr. Joseph Roy, BASD Superintendent, the Liberty High School Administration and Staff, and all the students at Liberty High School for their cooperation and patience in this incident. Their cooperation, patience and attention to protocol assisted the Police Officers in their search of the entire Liberty High School Campus on April 16, 2014 and in the continuing criminal investigation.
There will be no additional information released at this time.
Mark A. DiLuzio
Chief of Police