ShareThis Page
Police: South Butler student posted shooting video captioned ‘training for prom walk’ |
Valley News Dispatch

Police: South Butler student posted shooting video captioned ‘training for prom walk’

Emily Balser
| Monday, January 7, 2019 9:01 a.m

A Butler County judge has increased the bond for a teen accused of allegedly making an online threat to shoot students in the South Butler County School District.

Jason Bowen, 18, of Middlesex Township, is charged with terroristic threats, causing catastrophe, possession of drug paraphernalia and a weapons offense.

District Judge Sue Haggerty said after reviewing the evidence and the case once it came to her office Monday, she felt the bond needed to be increased and a mental evaluation ordered. Bowen’s bond was initially set at $25,000 cash during an arraignment in night court, but Haggerty increased it to $100,000 cash.

Haggerty said plans for a dance this weekend at the high school concerned her in light of the nature of the threats.

“I just didn’t want anyone to have any concerns and worries,” Haggerty said.

Bowen is accused of posting a Snapchat video that depicts him shooting a semi-automatic rifle captioned “training for prom walk,” according to court documents. Bowen is also alleged to have given a thumbs-up to the Sandy Hook school shooting in an Instagram photo posted last February.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16. Haggerty noted bond amounts can be changed at any time based on new information in a case.

Bowen’s attorney, Pittsburgh-based David Shrager, said his client never intended to follow-through with any kind of threat and said the video that was posted was an inappropriate joke.

“We are aware that this young man made a joke in very, very poor taste. It’s not funny. It’s not appropriate,” Shrager said. “We have to balance the need for safety with rationality and judge each case on its facts and not based out of fear and excitement.”

Middlesex police Sgt. Randy Ruediger said the gun Bowen allegedly used in the video belonged to a friend and has since been recovered by police.

Ruediger said he doesn’t anticipate anyone else being charged.

“Right now, we don’t have any treason to believe the person who owns the weapon made any threats,” he said. “We’re going to treat these incidents with seriousness.”

Police also found brass knuckles and drug paraphernalia during a search of Bowen’s room.

Shrager said the family is cooperating with the investigation and said the situation was “very shocking and disheartening for them.”

Shrager said Bowen has no criminal history, and he is working to get him out of jail.

A message left for Shrager regarding the increase in bond was not immediately returned. He said earlier in the day Monday he believed $25,000 was too high.

“I certainly understand a judge’s need to be cautious because of the tragedies that have happened across this county,” Shrager said. “That being said, it’s my position that the bond should be lowered, and we will be addressing those matters.”

The district remained on a modified lockdown for the rest of the day as a safety precaution. Under a modified lockdown, no visitors were permitted to enter the school buildings.

The district will be operating with tightened security for “the foreseeable future,” according to a message on the district website.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, or via Twitter @emilybalser.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 412-871-2369, or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.