EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Thursday in El Paso false threats of an armed person either on the Bel Air High School campus or near the campus circulated through text messages.

The El Paso County Attorney Juvenile Trial Team Chief Emily Dawson told KTSM 9 News that juveniles who make false threats face felony-level offenses.

“Our greatest fear is what happened in Uvalde Texas will happen in El Paso, and we are committed to preventing it also we recognize that these kinds of threats even when they’re false are terrifying for the community and we do want them to know that we are prosecuting them we have been prosecuting them and we will continue to do so,” said Dawson.

Officials explain that a juvenile is someone between the ages of 10 to 17 and if a juvenile makes a false threat they will either be processed and brought back to their parents or processed and taken to the juvenile probation department and detained.

They add that in the juvenile system, someone can be on probation until they are 18 years old or on a felony offenders can be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Once sent there, they can be there until they are 19-years-old.

KTSM 9 News asked Dawson if harsher consequences have been considered for making false threats toward a school.

“Right now we are focusing on prosecuting these as felonies but that doesn’t mean we won’t look at different options depending on what occurred, it’s a case by case basis so we’ll look at all our options but right now our focus is on treating them as felonies and prosecuting them appropriately in the juvenile system so we can provide these children rehabilitation services,” said Dawson.

Once a person is an adult the charges would be handled by the District Attorney.

El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales sent a statement following the false threats made towards Bel Air on Thursday.

“When someone makes a false threat to either law enforcement or other emergency personnel, even as a “simple joke”, this chain of events is still set into motion. The ramifications of a false threat are unnecessary; people still become horrified, and the time and efforts of emergency personnel are taken away from true emergencies. The District Attorney’s office takes the crime of making a false threat very seriously, and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Part of the Statement from District Attorney Yvonne Rosales.

RELATED STORY: County Attorney, District Attorney: Residents who make false threats face serious consequences

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