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Shelby Township teen facing charges for threatening to shoot up a school

Posted at 7:00 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:14:18-04

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Shelby Township teen is facing charges of threatening to shoot up a school just hours after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

18-year-old Joseph Ryan Vojnoski was arraigned today in the District Court in Shelby Township.

Police say, Vojnoski made a post on Instagram Tuesday night from his home in Michigan and sent it to someone in Texas.

In the post, Vojnoski said, "I want to shoot up a school for real."

Law enforcement in Texas were called and an investigation traced the post back to Vojnoski in Michigan.

Vojnoski is also charged with using a computer to commit a crime. Both charges are 20-year felonies.

Shelby Township Police went to the family home Wednesday and notified the judge that Vojnoski "admitted to making the statement via the internet." Police also removed multiple guns from the house.

Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido tells 7 Action News, the 18-year-old is not in school and this is considered more than just a prank.

"When somebody is speaking about doing it, and almost simultaneously when this was done, why wouldn't we think that threat is going to be carried out? More importantly, the fact that the guns were found," Lucido said.

Lucido believes the threat was to shoot up a school in Michigan, not Texas and this incident shows how everyone, including kids, can help prevent school shootings.

“If there's anyone that knows anything at anytime about violence in the school, please take the time to express it to your family, your peers, and the police department if you say, this is going down. There's no reason to wait. It's too late then if you wait,” said Lucido.

The increase in school threats has increased significantly since the Oxford school shooting. Since the Nov. 30 shooting, Macomb County courts have had a total of 40 threat cases. Lucido says two other juveniles were also in court Wednesday for making threats to shoot up schools in separate cases.

Defense Attorney Paul Tafelski told District Judge Douglas Sheperd during arraignment, that Vojnoski lives with his parents, works with his father, has not been in trouble, and is not a threat adding, "in these cases that come up, 99.99% of them turns out the defendant was attention-seeking or just doing something dumb. It was not a real threat to the public."

Assistant Prosecutor Pat Sierawski told the judge out of dozens of school threat cases this case is, "the most credible threat we've come across in Macomb County to date."

Judge Sheperd set Vojnoski’s bond at $200,000 full cash. If posted, Vojnoski will be ordered to full-time home confinement, a GPS tether, no contact with any school, no social media use, and the court would consider some computer remote school, if the school agrees.