Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.
At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”
School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.
“The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” Boyd said, describing the incident as a “naive accident.”
Asked if the teen’s religious beliefs factored into his arrest, Boyd said the reaction “would have been the same” under any circumstances.
“We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,” he said. “Of course we’ve seen across our country horrific things happen, so we have to err on the side of caution.”
The chief touted the “outstanding relationship” he’s had with the Muslim community in Irving. He said he talked to members of the Muslim community this morning and plans to meet with Ahmed's father later today.
Speaking at an afternoon news conference outside the family’s home, Ahmed’s father said he’s proud of his son and wowed by his skills.
“He fixed my phone, my car, my computer,” Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said. “He is a very smart, brilliant kid.”
Mohamed said he’s lived in America for 30 years, but this was a new experience for him.
“That is not America,” Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said of his son’s humiliation after being handcuffed in front of his classmates.
But Mohamed said he’s also been touched by the outpouring of support for his son.
“What is happening is touching the heart of everyone with children,” he said. “And that is America.”
Ahmed, himself, also spoke, saying he was saddened by the initial reaction his invention provoked but amazed at what has followed.
“It made me really happy to see all these people support me,” he said.
The teen said he hasn’t spoken to anyone from MacArthur High, where he was suspended until Thursday.
“I’m thinking about transferring from MacArthur to any other school,” Ahmed said.
Irving ISD spokeswoman Lesley Weaver also addressed the media, saying that information “made public to this point has been very unbalanced.”
She declined to provide details on how school officials handled the incident, citing laws intended to safeguard student privacy.
“We were doing everything with an abundance of caution to protect all of our students in Irving,” she said.
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne took to Facebook to defend the actions of the school district and police, saying their daily work helped make Irving “one of the safest cities in the country.”
“I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat,” Van Duyne wrote. “We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools. ... Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant.”
The mayor later amended her post, acknowledging that she would be “very upset” had the same thing happened to her own child.
Read More; Ahmed Mohamed swept up, 'hoax bomb' charges swept away as Irving teen's story floods social media | Dallas Morning News