Just a day after the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, which saw 17 people killed 18-year-old Ryan Debruyne sent a message to his friend on Snapchat asking them if he should re-enact it. His friend replied no and contacted the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s office contacted South Lyn Police and the police department of Green Oak Township, where Debryune lives.
Officers arrived at Debryune’s house on February 17th at 12:30 pm and they were allowed entry into the home by his parents. Debryune would admit in a police interview that he sent the message and he voluntarily surrendered his phone to the police. The police searched through his home and garage but were unable to find any weapons that he would have access to. Debruyne was arraigned on February 20th for charges of making a false threat of terrorism; a serious charge with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Debruyne is currently being held on a $10 million bond at the Oakland County Jail.
The South Lyon Community District was in the middle of their mid-winter break when the threat was made and would stay on break until the 21st of February. Police presence around the school had increased after the break was over, and police say that the department was ready to work together with the school administration to ensure students stayed safe. A Free Press review suggests that Michigan schools have seen at least nineteen threats of shootings in the two weeks following the Parkland massacre. Michigan State Police Spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw told the Detroit Free Press that parents should talk about these threats with their children. Even if the children are only joking about their threats, law enforcement will always take them seriously and press charges every single time.
The attorney for Debryune, Zack Glaza, has argued against the bond being set at $10 million. He argues his case is different from other cases of school violence. He says that Ryan allegedly made a statement and was shown to have no weapons, no history of violence, no criminal history or disciplinary history with the school, and he had done nothing else to suggest he would bring harm to the school or community. Ryan was questioned by law enforcement and then examined and medically cleared by the University of Michigan, complete with a written report deeming him to be no threat to himself or others. Glaza argued that Debruyne is a good and gentle kid who would never want to hurt anyone, and that he had been examined and medically cleared by psychologists with the University of Michigan.
Glaza says that Deburyne is being supported by the local community. There has been plenty of support from his community including his teachers, fellow students, parents, friends, and neighbors. Glaza presented letters from people who wished to see Ryan released on bond, saying they were eager to get to welcome him back upon his release.
Despite all this, Judge Travis Reeds, the Novi District judge in charge of the case, says he would need more evidence before changing the bail amount. Reeds also said he would need both the prosecutors and Debruyner’s attorney to submit a written agreement about the bail to be considered at the next hearing, which is due to take place on March 22nd.