CLEVELAND — A Scranton, Pennsylvania man faces 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for transmitting a school shooting threat against Parma High School in 2018.
Authorities say Russell Delano Miley-Cruz posted the following message on Snapchat on April 11, 2018: "Don’t go to Parma High School tomorrow friend, we are about to shoot that s--t up alright man? Don’t tell cops and you will be fine."
Miley-Cruz claimed to have received the threat himself and was merely forwarding it to a student. Five minutes later, Miley-Cruz sent the student another Snapchat message and told her to tell her friends “because it could save lives,” and added that two of his friends got the same message in Ohio and Tennessee.
The student shared the message containing the threat with a friend who then shared it via Snapchat. The next day, approximately 1200 students called out of school with only 340 students attending out of 1553 total Parma High School students.
According to investigators, Miley-Cruz provided a fake phone number to the Parma Police, denied knowing anyone who lived in Parma, and denied any knowledge of a school shooting threat to students at Parma High School. Within minutes after speaking with a Parma Police Detective, Miley-Cruz called the detective back, claiming to have received another school shooting threat. This threat, like the original threat, came from a fake phone number.
Miley-Cruz also created a fake Facebook profile utilizing an actual Parma High School student’s image and commented on local media stories taking credit for the school shooting threat.
Miley-Cruz's attorney David Betras said his 22-year-old client has a history of mental illnesses and didn't mean any harm, adding that Miley-Cruz wasn't taking his medication on the day he posted the threat. Betras stated that the incident was Miley-Cruz's misguided attempt to get in touch with a girl at the school.
“Posting threats to disrupt a school day is unlawful conduct under any circumstances, but especially where, like here, the defendant was in another state and then lied about his conduct to law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman in a statement. “Ensuring the safety of students, faculty, and school employees is a top priority for law enforcement in Northern Ohio. This defendant deserves every day of this 18 month sentence of imprisonment.”