Three Suspects Charged for Vandalism to Walt Whitman High School

Officers from the 2nd District of the Montgomery County Department of Police have charged a 17-year-old male juvenile for the June 13 and the March 1 racially-themed vandalisms that occurred to Walt Whitman High School.  Officers have also charged Jake Foster Hoffman, age 18, of the 8700 block of Grant Street in Bethesda, and an additional 17-year-old male with conspiracy to commit the June 13 vandalism.  All the suspects are residents of Montgomery County.

On Saturday, June 13, at approximately 9:32 a.m., a 2nd District officer who was on patrol was flagged down by a resident who reported that racially-themed words and a racially-themed image had been spray-painted on property belonging to Walt Whitman High School located at 7100 Whittier Boulevard in Bethesda.

Upon checking the school, the officer located a utility shed near the front entrance of the school.  The officers observed that a noose along with a racial slur had been spray-painted on the shed.  The officer also observed a racial slur spray-painted on the pavement in front of the storage shed.

On Sunday, June 14, one of the juvenile male suspects and Hoffman (who were both accompanied by a parent) walked into the 2nd District station to speak with officers regarding the June 13 vandalism at the school.

During a police interview, the juvenile male took full responsibility for the June 13 vandalism and stated that he committed this racially-themed vandalism because he thought it would be fun to have something make the news given the current events occurring in the United States. This juvenile and Hoffman stated that they felt regret soon after the vandalism and that they wanted to turn themselves in.

During the investigation, officers identified a second male juvenile suspect in the June 13 vandalism.  Subsequent police interviews with the three suspects determined that the second juvenile male suggested to the first juvenile male suspect that if he wanted to commit a racially-themed vandalism to the school that he should do it to the front of the school.  Hoffman stated that he told the first juvenile male that he should vandalize the utility shed instead of the front of the school.

Second District officers have been investigating a similar racially-themed vandalism that occurred to the high school on March 1.   Officers determined that the language used, and the drawings made in both vandalisms were similar.  During a subsequent police interview regarding the June 13 vandalism, the first juvenile suspect admitted to committing the March 1 vandalism as well.

The first 17-year-old male was charged as a juvenile with two counts of destruction of property and released to the custody of his parent.

The second 17-year-old male was charged as a juvenile with conspiracy to commit destruction of property.  He was released to the custody of a parent.

Hoffman was charged via District Court Summons with conspiracy to commit destruction of property.

**Note: the names of juveniles and photographs will not be released because they are juveniles.  A photograph of Hoffman is not available because he was charged via District Court Summons**