BETHLEHEM, Pa. - More than two weeks after a bogus 911 phone call prompted an all-out police response at a Bethlehem high school, an arrest has been made in the case.
The situation unfolded last month at Liberty High School.
Police have determined that Shae Quawn Najee Watson, 25, of Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, called 911 on April 16 to report that three gunmen were inside the school.
Watson, who resides in the 800 block of East Emmaus Avenue, was arrested and jailed Tuesday afternoon.
Liberty was put on lock down for hours on while police searched the school, but they didn't find anything.
A criminal investigation immediately was started by Bethlehem detectives, with assistance from the FBI, to learn the identity of the person responsible for the hoax.
Police were able to trace the call to a disposable Trac cell phone that had been purchased at the Walmart store in Bethlehem Twp., Northampton County earlier in the day April 16.
Watson was one of two men detained Monday in Allentown.
Police said surveillance video showed Watson was at the Walmart with another person who was in disguise, wearing a fake beard, on the day of the 911 hoax call.
An Allentown police officer spotted him in a vehicle, based on information in the investigation that had been shared with local law enforcement agencies.
Armed with search warrants, Bethlehem detectives then searched the impounded vehicle and a home in the 500 block of Atlantic Street in Bethlehem.
The sunglasses and clothing items that one young male wore when the cell phone was purchased at Walmart were recovered inside the vehicle. The cell phone and box were also recovered from inside the residence.
Watson has been charged with three counts of criminal conspiracy to commit terroristic threats, one count of criminal conspiracy to commit false alarms to agencies of public safety and one count of criminal conspiracy to commit false reports to law enforcement authorities.
Watson was arraigned before Northampton County District Judge Roy Manwarring III and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of bail of $100,000.
Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio said during Watson's arraignment Tuesday, Watson claimed he was in the Army National Guard.
Police said the investigation is continuing and may result in additional charges and/or arrests.
"The total cost to city of Bethlehem taxpayers, because of this fake call or hoax, is being calculated and is expected to be in the thousands of dollars," DiLuzio said in a news release.
"The emotional cost of this event to students, teachers, staff and parents can not be calculated in the same manner."
DiLuzio said about 2,100 students, faculty, staff and visitors were in Liberty High School when the incident occurred April 16.
"Their lives were interfered with by the unlawful and immature actions of the male charged in this incident," said the chief. "The unnecessary worry and stress caused to the parents of students inside Liberty High School during the lock down can not be expressed in words that are printable in the media."
Allentown, PA 18102