Keizer police identify suspects in school graffiti threats


Keizer police said they have identified three teens believed to be behind graffiti left on homes and a fence in November, some of which threatened violence at a school.

Officers said several homes, fences, a gazebo and a stop sign were tagged with graffiti in the area of Horizon Ridge Drive between 10 p.m. November 14 and 3:30 a.m. November 15.

Many of the messages threatened a school shooting at McKay High School in Salem

After a five-week investigation, officers determined the three teens, two 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old, were all from Clark County, Washington.

The first suspect, 18-year-old Christian Lane Thomas of Vancouver, was cited and released by officers in November after being interviewed in Camas. Thomas was scheduled to appear in court on December 18 but failed to appear, leading a warrant for his arrest to be issued.

Investigators identified and interviewed the 17-year-old suspect in the case in late November. A report on that interview was forwarded to the Marion County Juvenile Department for consideration of prosecution for first-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal mischief.

Officers interviewed 18-year-old Christopher Bensch of Vancouver on December 20. He was cited and released ahead of a scheduled court appearance in Marion County on January 11.

Both Thomas and Bensch face charges of first-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal mischief.

The Keizer Police Department determined that the threats in the graffiti were not credible and that the three suspects did not have the means or intent to carry out any threats to schools.

The investigation into this case is ongoing, and police are asking anyone with information on this case to contact Keizer Police Detective Tim Lathrop at 503-856-3481 and reference incident #17-4776.

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