Apology closes case of New Prague hoax call

1:22 PM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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 PDF Document: New Prague Hoax Family apology  PDF Document: childapology

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Public apologies from a 12-year-old and his family have brought the case involving a hoax phone call threatening the New Prague Public Schools to a close.

Defense attorney Marsh Halberg tells KARE 11 that the case is resolved following a court appearance in Scott County Monday morning. The Scott County Attorney's Office declined to comment on the case, citing it's status in the juvenile system.

While a number of details remain sealed due to the suspect's age, his parents did authorize Halberg to release some information on the boy and the circumstances that led to the bogus 911 call reporting a mass shooting on the New Prague campus that houses the middle school, high school and Central Education Campus buildings.

The call triggered an evacuation of the entire campus and a law enforcement response that virtually shut down the community.

Defense attorney Halberg describes the young man responsible for the call as adopted from the Ukraine, determined to have special needs from birth with significant life challenges. He is now small for a 12-year-old, quiet and polite.

Halberg says on March 20, the day of the hoax, the boy was in possession of a cell phone that his parents were no longer using. It had been deactivated, but was still capable of calling 911.

His father drove the boy to school as he did every morning and handed him off to a paraprofessional who works with him. During a bathroom break the boy pulled out the phone and called in the phony report of a shooting from a stall.

"He told police the reason he did it is because he likes bright, shiny lights and police officers."

His family says the boy lacks the ability to think long term about how the hoax call would impact students and their families.

Halberg also points out that the boy's family suffered along with hundreds of other parents who scrambled to campus and waited for hours wondering if their sons and daughters were killed or injured. Only after the scene was cleared did they find out their son was responsible.  

At this point it is not clear whether the family will have to pay restitution costs involving the cost of law enforcement response.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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