Cops: Teen arrested after threat to blow up school

Steven Taggart, 16, walks out of district court

Steven Taggart, 16, walks out of district court in Central Islip. The junior at Islip High School was arrested Friday after police said he posted an online threat to blow up the Kings Park High School gymnasium. (Jan. 26, 2013) (Credit: Ed Betz)

A junior at Islip High School was arrested Friday after police said he posted an online threat to blow up the Kings Park High School gymnasium.

Detectives said Steven Taggart, 16, was engaged in "one-upsmanship" with other students on the social networking website Twitter the night before a boys basketball game between their schools when he wrote that he had a bomb and was getting ready to blow up the "Kingdome," as the Kings Park gym is known.

"We certainly think this was teenage bravado going back and forth," said Detective Sergeant James Murphy of Suffolk County Police Department's Fourth Squad. But, he said, "We don't take chances."

Detectives charged Taggart, arrested after a complaint from Kings Park High School officials, with falsely reporting an incident, a felony.

In a tweet before his arrest Friday afternoon, Taggart apologized, writing "Sorry for what I tweeted yesterday." In another, he wrote, "I've let my school and family down."

Murphy said his squad has handled similar cases in recent years. "People don't understand the ramifications of their tweets," he said. "It's going out to the world and it causes problems."

Islip won, 51-49, in what Murphy said was an empty gym. "The game went off without a hitch but they didn't allow any student in from either school," he said.

Taggart is scheduled to be arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Central Islip.

This story has been changed to correct the spelling of Steven Taggart's name, which was misspelled Friday in a police news release.

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