At least one San Marcos High School boy connected to an online video describing how to kill female fellow students with a gun and bayonet is facing multiple felonies, according to parents closely connected to the incident. The 90-second mock instructional video — which features a young male wielding a colonial-era musket as a weapon against “thots,” an acronym for “that ho over there” — was accompanied by a chat-room list of “thots that need to be eradicated,” naming at least 16 female students at San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, and Santa Barbara high schools and a 12-year-old at La Colina Junior High. Due to privacy laws protecting minors, details remain elusive; parents attempting to follow the case could not say with certainty whether the boy in the video or one of his chat-room friends is the one now facing felony charges. “I can’t comment on an alleged juvenile case,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.
Soon after the chat-room video and hit list came to light on January 19, San Marcos parent Ericka Dixon helped establish Santa Barbara Parents for High School Safety, which now has close to 100 members, representing elementary, junior high, and high school grade levels. Early on, the parent group composed a timeline of the video incident and the responses of school and district administrators. On January 29, according to the timeline, a small group of San Marcos first-year students gave statements to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office deputies, explaining that one of the chat-room boys had been openly speaking with peers on campus about planning a school shooting, including how he was going to obtain weapons. This information was never publicized by the Sheriff’s Office, and no arrests were made.
In an unrelated incident on February 23 at Carpinteria Middle School, an unarmed 13-year-old boy made criminal threats, saying he was going to shoot up the school; he was arrested that same day and booked into Santa Maria Juvenile Hall. After attempts to reach Sheriff Bill Brown and two Public Information Officers for an explanation of why seemingly similar threats were handled differently, public information officer Kelly Hoover sent an email stating, “The Sheriff’s Office conducted a comprehensive investigation and forwarded the case to the DA’s Office. Because the case is in the judicial process, we refer any questions regarding this case to the DA’s Office.” She added, “While I cannot go into the specifics of these juvenile cases, I can say that each one had a unique set of circumstances. I can assure you that in each of these cases, public safety was our number one consideration.”