THE HAGUE, Netherlands – An investigation into the threat of a school shooting in Leiden, in western Netherlands, led to a suspect in Costa Rica, Dutch officials said Wednesday.
A decision on Monday to provide armed guards at local city schools was cancelled following the discovery of the suspect’s location.
“The suspect has lived for some time in Costa Rica,” municipal officials said in a statement, without specifying the person’s nationality or age.
But a police investigation using Internet experts allowed them to determine that the threat “comes from a computer located in Costa Rica.”
Police are now focusing their attention on an 18-year-old male, believed to be a Dutch citizen. He was kicked out of a Leiden high school after a fight with a teacher, had an “interest in weapons and had held a presentation about school shootings,” police learned.
The man recently told his Dutch family he was living in Costa Rica, which was also confirmed by computer experts helping the police, the statement said. “The police are working hard to track his exact address and are doing everything possible to contact the suspect to ensure he returns to the Netherlands.”
On Wednesday, agents from Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police, or OIJ, located the man at a San José hotel, based on two IP addresses provided by Dutch police, the daily La Nación reported. An OIJ spokesman said the man had crossed into Costa Rica through the northern border with Nicaragua. Police said they do not have a capture order, and so far, Dutch officials are seeking only to talk with the man.
Authorities in Leiden had decided late Sunday to close high schools on Monday after they received a tip about the threat from Swiss police.
“I will shoot my Dutch teacher and as many students as I can,” the anonymous message in English said on a website. “It’s at a school in the Dutch city of Leiden,” the message said, chillingly adding that, “for more proof, I will be using a 9 mm Colt Defender.”
“The police have reasonable grounds to believe that this young man is involved in the threat or he is the author. This means that the threat is now suspended,” the statement said.