Facebook clues led police to suspect in Skyline shooting threat
October 3, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 3, 2012
Police said a trail of comments on Facebook led investigators to the suspect in the Sept. 20 shooting threat against Skyline High School.
Facebook taunts directed at Skyline High School students concerned about a school shooting threat linked the incident to a 16-year-old Edmonds boy and former Skyline student.
Police said Parker N. Mace posted the Skyline threat on the online bulletin board 4chan just before midnight Sept. 19. Then, after frightened Skyline students created a Facebook group to discuss the threat, police said Mace posted mocking comments.
Information from friends of Mace also aided investigators.
Police arrested Mace for harassment and cyberstalking — both felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Police arrested Mace at home in Edmonds early Tuesday. The suspect appeared in King County Chief Juvenile Judge Helen Halpert’s courtroom for a detention review Wednesday afternoon.
In the 4chan post, the user outlined plans to take a sub-machine gun and “open fire on the people in the commons” the next morning and continue until the ammunition ran out, or law enforcement officers killed the shooter. The post made a specific reference to “jocks” as “the biggest offender” and also said “the people at that school use their wealth and social status to act superior to others.”
Issaquah School District administrators decided to close Skyline the next day in response to the threat.
In the subsequent investigation, Issaquah Police Detective Ryan Raulerson noticed the Facebook group — titled “Not going to school tomorrow because of threat” — and noticed Mace’s comments.
Raulerson alerted a King County Sheriff’s Office investigator, and deputies met Mace, a student at Edmonds-Woodway High School, Sept. 20 to discuss the Facebook comments.
Mace appeared alarmed after a deputy asked if he had anything to do with the threat, court documents state. Instead, he told the deputy, “No, but I did make those A-hole comments on Facebook.”
Police traced the 4chan post to a proxy server in Sweden — a common technique to mask computer users’ identities — and hit a dead end.
Raulerson informed the King County investigator about a similar threat against Meadowdale High School in April. The school is in the same district as Edmonds-Woodway. In the Meadowdale threat, investigators traced the post to a proxy server in Germany.
Investigators also heard from a Skyline junior, a friend of Mace. The friend noticed similarities in the language used in the Skyline threat and the verbiage Mace used in their chats on Facebook and Xbox Live.
In addition, the friend said Mace bragged in April about how Mace “trolled my school so hard. I just got the day off.” The next day, the friend learned about the threat and closure at Meadowdale.
Once Skyline reopened Sept. 21, the friend approached the school resource officer, Alana Hall, and mentioned the possible connection to Mace, a Skyline student from September 2010 until November 2011.
Hall described the suspect Tuesday as “a teenage boy who made some poor choices at times” and knew Mace through incidents reported to police.
In November 2011, administrators expelled Mace from Skyline for bringing LSD-laced gummy bears to school.
Hall knew Mace possessed computer and Internet skills, too.
Investigators asked the friend to display Mace’s Facebook page, and a detective noticed references in archived chats to Mace using a proxy server. Mace also used a lowercase I rather than the grammatically correct capital I — another connection to the Skyline 4chan post.
Investigators seized computers and cellphones from the boy’s home Sept. 25. Mace told police they would not find anything incriminating on the computers.
Police did not find evidence of firearms or ammunition in the home. However, investigators did discover digital footprints to link a computer to the Skyline threat.
The user behind the 4chan post also included a photo purporting to show the sub-machine gun. Detectives discovered a thumbnail image and source for the image on the suspect’s computer. The photo came from a Filipino classified ad website.
Investigators also interviewed classmate of Mace at Edmonds-Woodway. The classmate said Mace boasted about the Skyline and Meadowdale threats a few days later in a computer programming class, as well as using a proxy server in Sweden.