Teen pleads not guilty to bomb threat

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 judge Saturday freed an Islip teenager charged with a felony for tweeting what police considered a threat to bomb a rival school's basketball game.

Steven S. Taggart, a junior at Islip High School, admitted posting on Twitter that he was preparing to blow up "The Kingdome" -- the nickname of rival Kings Park High School's gym, according to court papers.

Through his attorney, Taggart pleaded not guilty Saturday to falsely reporting an incident on school grounds. The teen is charged as an adult.

"I believe this incident was fairly overblown," the attorney, James Polk of Garden City, told Judge G. Ann Spelman of District Court in Central Islip.

His parents were in the courtroom as Polk told Spelman that Taggart is a junior volunteer firefighter, plays sports and works part time at a fish market.

According to a law enforcement source, Taggart tweeted at 10:23 p.m. Thursday: "just got the bomb dropped off at my house. Getting ready to blow the Kingdom up!"

The post was part of what police called "one-upsmanship" among students the night before a boys basketball game between the schools.

The tweet was later deleted and an apology posted Friday by Taggart, but police arrested him later that day.

Suffolk County police have characterized the incident as "teenage bravado," but said they have to take all such threats seriously.

Taggart, released without bail, left court Saturday with the hood of his coat pulled over his head.

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