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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Ashley student arrested for violence hoax


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- An Ashley High School student has been charged with starting rumors about planned violence at the school.

New Hanover County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer says Dylan Greg Merten, 17, is charged with disorderly conduct by disrupting students after admitting to starting the rumor. Investigators arrested Merten this morning.

According to an arrest warrant, investigators say Merten created the rumor that someone would enter Ashley High School Friday and "shoot up the school." Investigators say the statement caused students to fear for their safety and plan not to attend classes tomorrow.

New Hanover County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Holliday said in an e-mail to reporters that Ashley administration began hearing rumors on Monday about violence that was to occur Friday at the school.

"They began investigating immediately," Holliday wrote. "The Sheriff's Department was also involved. Yesterday, the source of the rumors was identified as a current Ashley student who apparently started the rumors as a hoax."

Holliday did not identify Merten in his e-mail, but he said Ashley administration has applied "appropriate disciplinary measures."

"The New Hanover County Schools takes all threats against students and staff very seriously," Holliday said in his e-mail. "We will not tolerate any attempt to disrupt the learning environment of any of our schools. We would ask that community members contact the New Hanover County Schools to verify accurate information before responding to rumors."

Mertens was released from the New Hanover County Jail under $1,000 unsecured bond. He is due in court February 6.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Yeah right little man, I'm

Yeah right little man, I'm an Ashley student and I know Dylan and he would never harm a fly. Only reason ur not coming to school is because its a half day. Ur not scared at all, ur just using this as an excuse to skip!

you are an idiot kid. there

you are an idiot kid. there is no one else involved. go to school. nothing is going to happen

This is nothing to joke

This is nothing to joke about, Only he knows if its really a joke.
He needs to be evaluated for a year or two in a mental ward

He confessed right?

"New Hanover County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer says Dylan Greg Merten, 17, is charged with disorderly conduct by disrupting students after ADMITTING to starting the rumor. "

The kid said he started it.


You people are ridiculous. There have been rumors all week. From red necks shooting the school to other schools coming to Ashley to and shooting it. Dylan is the nicest most wisest guy I know. I know for fact he would never do any of this. Sure his beliefs of "the end of the world" may be known but doens't or shouldnt be made a big deal of what has happened today. Dylan has a good heart and it's the cruel children that attend school that made this a big issue. He has his own opinions to whether he thinks the world will end or not. This does not mean we should have ridiculed him and blamed him for the chidlren who really started this commotion. Dylan did his senior project on Bullying and was strongly against it. What are you people doing now? You're bullying him, making up information that is not accurate. It is wrong. And as someone who knows he would not do this, people should be ashamed of themselves. Sure security has to be up tight due to the fact of the shooting last friday but we do not need to start point fingers and people who have done nothing. this is so wrong.

A friend who is" wise"

No one is blaming Dylan for the CT shootings it was New Jersey native. Now he mightbe a great person,son,student but that is what he wants you to see. Dylan is a sick person and needs help. I am not saying he is not a good person but he has to have a pretty twisted mind to set his plan into motion and when was being arressted he was laughing the whole time and when he was being questioned he was still laughing. He was laughing at the police officers asking him questions about the hoax!! There is not one school shooting in world that has every been ok so why would a hoax be ok?!? Well i am not judgeing or bullying as some people say were doing on here but i am only saying he needs help,and giving him a $1,000 bond and saying come to court on feburary ,6 2013 says oh were gonna realese you to public and do what you want just do not kill anyone but irs ok to start a hoax. Really thats a wise " friend" i hope they put him away so he can get help. Sorry if i hurt your feelings.

Thank you for that I know

Thank you for that I know this fine young man and trust me he wouldn't hurt a fly and the facts will be coming out so hang in there school is trying to do a job of protecting but they did a few things wrong an scaring him to death was one of them they didn't do what they should have in some ways but couldn't ignore it either. You can't believe the press releases. Sad situation for sure!


some of you are in La La land defending this 17 yr old & saying he is just a kid who made a joke in poor taste. He's so kind etc.
what is wrong with you?? This 17 yr old admitted he said someone was going to shoot up the school Friday!!! What is a joke about that?? Maybe you have missed the news where "highly intelligent, quiet" 20 yr old Just shot up a school last friday!!!!! of babies 6-7. 20 of them. was that a joke to you?

There is nothing funny about thsi teen saying the school is getting shot up tomorrow. Now a huge number of parents and students are scared to go to their half day of school before their much looked forward to winter vacation. They are staying home scared & will be wondering all day if any of their friends will get killed that day.

This school shooting is one of the most shocking, heart breaking things rithg here at Christmas that I have ever heard.
There definately is something wrong mentally with this teen to start such a horrible threat towards the school.

He needs to be mentally evaluated! that's what we are asking for, is from now on get the mentally ill help before they kill our families. so do it!!!

It had to be in his mind in order for him to speak it out loud!! Look at his photo, he has that glazed, unfocused look in his eyes like the other shooter.

Okay, so if the country

Okay, so if the country weren't so afraid of everything at the moment
This would not be a big deal. All this is is a truely tasteless joke, but comedians get away with it constantly.
This should get at most a slap on the wrist, but not anything to ruin his life.
He is just a kid.

Re.: Ridiculous.

She's got a point

Hunny, you keep your sweet lil' opinion, we'll keep ours...

...and until then, quit smoking that crap and get your @$$ out of the fairy tale!
The dumb little jerk ought to have enough common sense NOT to pull this rediculous stunt just after the worst elementary school mass-murder ever recorded in the US. Dylan must have the most brilliant and proud parents on the east coast. Their son will likely make the national news register with this stunt.
Tell you what Haley brainchild, do us all a favor and take yourself with three of your very best friends, walk into the ILM airport and scream "BOMB" at the top of your lungs. You won't have done anything wrong at'll all be can laugh and giggle until your little hairbows fall out. Promise!

give the kid a break. he

give the kid a break. he made a mistake. all u people that want to hang him are hipocrites. cause u all know that when u were 17 u made mistakes too. u just didnt get caught. think of that.

Obviously lecturing someone

Obviously lecturing someone who cares about someone
Who happens to make a mistake, isn't the way to go.
And telling minors other horrible things to do. Good job!!!
Even you would still care for the friends go would make mistakes. Cause everyone does!

Is that right Hayley? At

Is that right Hayley? At this moment I am REALLY hoping you're not one of the people my sons consider a "friend" at school. You know for a FACT he "wouldn't do anything like this"? Yet he was crass enough to start a "rumor", involving how many other people, after the entire country has been horrified over the deaths of all those children in CT? "WISE" people don't make decisions like that, EVER! And before your tiny "teenage" arguments come up let me just say: HE ADMITTED IT!!!
If you're convinced that this kid is soooo wonderful why don't YOU step up, go the the school administration and tell them who REALLY started the rumor? You'll speak out here in defense of your "friend" but you won't set yourself up to be known as a "rat" to defend him in front of the "popular" kids at school will you? Why not? Because you'll have to do it somewhere you can't hide? Here it's easy, in school? LOL, not many kids have the guts.
If he's so stable that he wouldn't "do any of this" why are you compelled to defend his "end of the world" stance? Maybe it's a little.....much? Maybe his "outlook" is a little sick?
I'm guessing his senior project didn't teach him much now did it? Wouldn't you think that anyone who has lost a child to a sick, demented murderer feels bullied? Don't you think a 6 year old kid with a gun in his/her face feels bullied?
Here's hoping you WAKE UP before leaving high school. Unfortunately, with comments like "shouldn't be made a big deal of what has happened today", I don't think you'll never get it.

And I don't think u

And I don't think u understand who Dylan actually is. He is as straight as an arrow. He never does anything wrong and he preformed with me in my drama group for a year and i can say with absolute certaintyis truly a kind person and would never harm anyone. And so what if he started a hoax? It does not make him the worst person in the world at all. There are plenty of worse kids at Ashley. You don't even know a quarter of the student's that go her so how can u know what Dylan is like. Next time think before you start being a b***h

I am not a child and if you

I am not a child and if you had been there and met with the family today you would know some other facts. What he admitted to is not being reported correctly so please wait and see facts will be coming forth. However the school has to take action. There are always 2 sides to a story. This country has been on edge and very saddened for over a week with the situation in CT. I am glad the school looked into this they should have but they should have also called the parents in and or advised him of his rights while he was being yelled at for 2 hours. Half the student body should be suspended by now for all where talking about it and no Merten didn't start the rumor that will be coming out but he did admit talking about it with other students and how stupid people were being that something like that shouldn't be discussed. So just stay tuned fact will emerge but people should also watch what they say. This is a sensitive subject and rightfully so. I smile when I read your comments about making a teenage argument some of those just make me roll my eyes sometimes. Your right they do not want to be the rat but they through a boulder of BS when they can and not one person thinking about what it does to one that didn't say or do something and then that leaves the doubt of if we do nothing we are wrong. This young man is being made an example of after many others were reported to the office and the told him "Admit you did it and you can go back to class" that is wrong!


"Dylan is the nicest most wisest guy I know."

Please expand your circle of friends.

He should do time for the haircut!

Does Bonnie Franklin ("One day at a time")know her wig is missing?



This is ridiculous. You're

This is ridiculous. You're going to arrest someone for starting a rumor? Whatever happened to freedom of speech? This kid should sue.

Give him some form of discipline, maybe as little as a talking to with the principal and his parents, or even a public apology to the school, but to arrest someone? Ridiculous.

And YOUR kids will be

And YOUR kids will be putting kittens in the microwave. Like I told my kids and their friends the other day when they said they didn't want to go to school: RAT HIM OUT! This was after I told them if they EVER pulled such a totally low class move it wouldn't be the school having them arrested it would be ME!
Maybe during his little "talking to" with the principal we should give him some cookies and a little pat on the head too?

Re: and YOUR kids will be

You know snitches get stiches right?

Still have it

There is still freedom of speech but just like you can't yell fire in a theater and expect no repercussions for your actions. It is called incendiary speech and that type of speech isn't protected under the First Amendment.

What's ridiculous is...

your comment. Freedom of speech? He had the freedom to say what he wanted and did and now he pays for his stupid remarks. You are part of the problem.... There will be no public apology nor should there be. You should apologize for making such a stupid post.

YOU should be right there with him!

Same charges, same psychotherapy, same expulsion. As an idiot to make the statement you just, that did makes you just as stupid.

How's THAT for "freedom of speech", Kilroy?

"As an idiot to make the

"As an idiot to make the statement you just, that did makes you just as stupid."

...and your calling someone else stupid?


You're...not YOUR calling someone else stupid.

Lost art

Proofreading and fact checking are lost arts. Like the story posted here earlier this week talking about a wreck on I-40 at exit 392 in Duplin County. There is no exit 392 and at mile marker 392 one is in Pender County.

i know this kid

he is an idiot. my girlfriend goes to that school and i just recently graduated from there. he was always a sorta "sketched" out kid. he better get some time in jail because i am already worried enough about the threats being said and the shooting. i am already worried about my friends and girl friend being there at the school.
he is a screwed up individual.

People Like YOU!!!!

It is people like you that drive kids over the edge to commit crimes like in CT. If you say **** like this then I am sure that you girlfriend does too. I bet you think that you are one of the cool kids and it's cool to say things like this.

Someone needs to take you out back and beat your ***! Because you parents obviously did not.

I will worry about it and you are not my hommie. Sounds like somehow you managed to graduate but you are obviously still a child.