A Michigan student is being held on a $10 million bond for threatening to re-enact the Parkland shooting.
A day after the shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida, 18-year-old Ryan Debruyne sent a friend a Snapchat message asking them if they wanted to help him re-enact it. His friend said no, and called the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s office got in touch with the South Lyon Police and the police department in Green Oak Township, where Debruyne’s home is.
At 12:30 pm on Feb. 17th, officers went to Debruyne’s house and were admitted to his house by his parents. During an interview with police, Debruyne admitted to sending the Snapchat message and volunteered his phone to officers. Police also searched his home and garage in search of guns but found none that he had access to. On February 20th, Debruyne was arraigned on charges of making a false threat of terrorism, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of twenty years. He is being held on a $10 million bond at the Oakland County Jail.
The South Lyon Community Schools district was on mid-winter break at the time of the threat and remained on break until February 21st. After students returned from their winter break, police presence around local schools increased, and police say that the department will work closely with school administration to ensure the safety of students. According to a Free Press review, there have been at least nineteen shooting threats at Michigan schools in the two weeks since the Parkland shooting. “It is important for parents to talk to their kids about these threats,” Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw told the Detroit Free Press. “While they may be kidding/joking in reference to these threats, law enforcement takes them very seriously and will submit for charges every time.”
Zack Glaza, Debruyne’s attorney, has argued against the $10 million bonds, arguing that his case is different from other cases of school violence. “It is alleged that Ryan made a statement: he did not possess weapons, he has no history of violence, no criminal history or disciplinary record with the school, and he did nothing else to demonstrate a desire to bring harm to his school or community,” Glaza said, in a statement at the teen’s February 28th probable cause hearing. “Shortly after Ryan was questioned by law enforcement, he was examined and medically cleared by the University of Michigan—the written report concluded that he is not a threat to himself or others.” Glaza added that Debruyne was “a gentle kid who, in his heart, wishes no harm to any person,” and that he was “examined and medically cleared” by a psychological report done by the University of Michigan.
According to Glaza, Debruyne has the support of the local community behind him. “Finally, despite what has been written about Ryan in the papers and online, there has been an outpouring of support from the community of teachers, students, parents, friends, and neighbours,” he said, in the conclusion to his speech at the hearing. “I have collected dozens of letters from those who have expressed their desire to see Ryan released on bond and their eagerness to accept him back into the community when he returns home. The South Lyon and Green Oak communities are rooting for Ryan, I hope the broader community will join them.”
But Judge Travis Reeds, the Novi District judge who heard the case, said that he needed more evidence before he would consider changing Debruyne’s bail. Reeds also said that he wanted both prosecutors and Debruyne’s attorneys to submit a written argument on the bail, to be considered at the next hearing, on March 22nd.
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