Farmwell Middle School Threat Case Sent to Grand Jury

Following a Jan. 19 preliminary hearing in Loudoun County District Court, the case against the 18-year-old Fairfax County resident charged with making threats toward an Ashburn middle school in December was sent to a grand jury for review.

Shane D. Lucas is charged with making threats of bodily injury or death to persons on school property, a Class 6 felony. He was cited by investigators as the source of a Dec. 7 social media post that included a photo of a firearm and threatening statements toward Farmwell Station Middle School.

During the preliminary hearing, school Principal Sherryl Loya, Sheriff’s Office Detective Sean McCormack and LCSO Digital Forensic Examiner Kristi Kennard testified about that events of the day. 

Loya said she learned about the threat, which was posted on Twitter, from a school resource officer. The posting included a photo of an AR-15 rifle and as statement warning students to not go to school that day. It was signed “school shooter.”

The principal put the school on lockdown, preventing anyone from entering or exiting, and worked with the school division’s public information office to put out an alert to the school community. 

McCormack was assigned to investigate and quickly contacted Twitter and Verizon to identify the origin of the posting. After tracing it to a Fairfax address, a search warrant was obtained and executed with the Fairfax County Police Department later that day. Lucas was at the home.

At the home, a laptop, a tablet computer, two cell phones and a SIM card were among the items collected. Using a pass code provided by Lucas, Kennard opened his iPhone and found photo of the weapon that matched the one used in the tweet and web searches for images of the weapon. Also on the phone was access to the Twitter account used to post the threat. 

Loya said Lucas was a student at Farmwell during his sixth, seventh and eighth grade years.

At the conclusion of the more than two-hour hearing, which concluded around 8 p.m., Judge Matthew P. Snow certified the charge to the February grand jury session. The case is expected to transfer to Circuit Court on Feb. 15 for adjudication.

The hearing was held a week after Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj joined with Lucas’ attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office in seeking to have him released on bond so his family could move him into a residential treatment program to address mental health concerns. Snow denied the bond request.

The attorneys then appealed that denial to Circuit Court and, on Jan. 13, Judge Douglas L. Fleming Jr. also denied bond.

It was the second time a bond request for Lucas was denied at the District Court and Circuit Court levels.

2 thoughts on “Farmwell Middle School Threat Case Sent to Grand Jury

  • 2022-01-21 at 4:29 pm
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    I hope this young person gets the mental-health treatment he sorely needs. Something is terribly wrong for a teen to terrorize others in such a manner. I’m relieved no one was physically injured as a result of his threats. But measures must be taken to ensure his rehabilitation.

  • 2022-01-21 at 5:38 pm
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    Typically, Commonwealth Attorney Buta Biberaj, a career defense attorney who had never prosecuted a single case prior to her election, joined with the perpetrators attorney seeking bond. Fortunately those requests were denied.

    Public safety continues to be a concept foreign to Biberaj.

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