Man pleads guilty to making threat to Fairfax High School

An 18-year-old man has pleaded guilty to one count of making a school threat back in late February, according to the suspect's attorney.

Investigators said Ishmael Harrison created a Twitter account and sent out several threats to harm students at Fairfax High School on Feb. 21. They also found nearly 200 rounds of ammunition that could be used with an AR-15, but never found a weapon.

Harrison now faces up to five years in prison. However, Harrison's attorney Damon D. Colbert told FOX 5 he will ask the judge for leniency at sentencing. The minimum punishment is a fine.

Criminal defense attorney David Benowitz, of, is not affiliated with the case, but said Harrison's case and the guilty plea of Alwin Chen in Montgomery County represent how seriously law enforcement are taking cases involving threats or weapons found in schools.

Chen pleaded guilty to bringing a gun and knife to school in a backpack at Clarksburg Middle School on Feb. 15, a day after the Parkland, Florida shooting.

Benowitz said law enforcement has a responsibility to protect school communities from a threat of a school shooting, but they also need to balance that with overreacting to empty threats.

"Young people filled with adrenaline, filled with hormones are probably going to say things that they don't mean," said Benowitz. "That doesn't mean you don't take it seriously now, particularly when they have access to weapons. You absolutely need to take these things seriously, but to then say that if you make an idle threat or you make a threat on social media that other people see, therefore you go to jail, I think that goes down a very, very dangerous road."

In a statement in reference to Harrison's guilty plea, City of Fairfax police told FOX 5, "There is nothing funny about this case or any reference to violence in or around our schools, 'joke' or not. Such statements will not be tolerated and will be considered threats."