The Huntington Beach Police Department arrested a 16-year-old boy Friday night on suspicion of making a terroristic threat against the US Open. According to reports, the threat was made via social media. The teenager, whose name isn't being released because he is a minor, was arrested at his home in Huntington Beach.
The Huntington Beach Independent is reporting that the social media threat was first noticed by an intelligence division of the New York Police Department, who initially viewed it as a threat against the US Open of Tennis. NYPD informed the HBPD, who evaluated the threat and then monitored the suspect while a search warrant was issued.
An AP report stated that police seized a handgun, a shotgun, and electronic devices from the boy's home. Each of the weapons in the teen’s home are reported to have been purchased legally by his family members. The arrested teenager contends that the threat was made as a joke.
“We don’t necessarily know that for sure,” HBPD Police Chief Robert Handy told the Huntington Beach Independent. “His comment or statement to the officers last night was that he didn’t mean it. We’re not sure if that’s true or not, so that’s part of our investigation.”
Police Chief Handy went on to say that the teen has posted "disturbing" and "dark" posts online in the past, some of which featured the teen holding firearms.
Each year, the US Open draws tens of thousands of surf fans and beachgoers to the event. Last year, a small riot broke out. In response, event officials have toned down the nature of the event and are no longer featuring live music shows.
The event, which lasts a total of nine days, began this morning.