August 15, 2018

Authorities Identify Source of Social Media Threat to HHS

(Franklin, GA) — Local authorities have identified the source of an anonymous threat on social media late Wednesday that caused the severe disruption of normal activities at Heard County High School Thursday.

During the evening hours on Wednesday, the Franklin Police Department was contacted by a representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding a concerning social media post that had been reported to them.

The concerning post on the site stated simply, “Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to Heard County High School, in Franklin, Georgia, on 11:28 a.m. tomorrow.”

The threat posted on the social media site 4chan.org immediately prompted communication between school and law enforcement officials prior to students arriving at school this morning.

While authorities did not believe the threat was credible, they decided to step up security at all five Heard County schools in the interest of safety and as a precaution.

“If we felt this was a direct and legitimate threat, we would have cancelled school today,” said Franklin Police Chief Kevin Hannah this morning.

State law enforcement officers, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division, and a representative from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency were present throughout the day.

Local investigators remained in contact with FBI representatives and a suspect was identified by Lieutenant Tino Brooks of the Franklin Police Department.

Upon interviewing this suspect (located through his IP address), it was determined that there was indeed no credible threat to the school.

The unidentified 19-year-old male informed investigators that he meant no harm, saying he had located an earlier post on the social media site which he slightly modified and reposted.

Authorities are not identifying the suspect at this time, citing an ongoing investigation. Chief Hannah did confirm late Thursday that the post originated in Heard County.

No charges have been filed at this time based on information obtained during the interview, but officials are working with the District Attorney’s Office to determine what, if any, charges will be filed in the case.

“The safety of the school staff and students was our top priority,” said Chief Hannah Thursday evening. “We are pleased to now know more details regarding this post. I am pleased with the unified efforts of all public safety, emergency services and school personnel. Due to the ongoing investigation, the suspect’s identity is being withheld. It is our hope that this update will assist in restoring peace to our community.”

Most parents and students heeded the warning very seriously as only about 10-15% of the HCHS students remained at school by the end of the day.

Heard County Middle School and Heard Elementary school saw slightly higher than normal absences while attendance at Centralhatchee Elementary and Ephesus Elementary was near normal.

“We would like to thank Chief Kevin Hannah and the Franklin Police Department and Sheriff Ross Henry and the Heard County Sheriff’s department for their excellent work in providing officers at our schools and in finding the person who made the post,” said Heard County School Superintendent Jerry Prince late Thursday.

“A special thanks to Lieutenant Tino Brooks for his good work. Also thanks to the Georgia State Patrol, Michael Ruple who is the School Safety Coordinator with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies who were involved Thursday.”

Prince also thanked the faculty at the county schools for their efforts throughout the unusual day.

“We would also like to thank the dedicated staff at all schools in Heard County for the good work they do day in and day out,” said Prince.

“One of the most important tasks we have is to keep your children safe and we take that very seriously. We are constantly working to make our schools as safe as possible. If you ever become aware of something that you feel could threaten the safety of any of our students please contact us immediately.”

School officials confirmed that lack of attendance at school Thursday will not count against students in any way as it relates to unexcused absences or perfect attendance.

School officials and law enforcement expect daily activities will be back to normal on Friday at all Heard County schools.

Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for further information as it becomes available.

Comments

  1. I think he should be charged with something,look at what it caused ,parents were scared,students were scared,a school day was missed,and not to mention the cost to the city,and county,who both did great jobs,thank you all involved school staff and police, we know we can count on you,GOD BLESS…

  2. ITS NO JOKE, MY 11 YEAR OLD GRANDAUGHTER CALLED ME IN PANIC I HAD TO RUSH FROM ANOTHER COUNTY TO GET MY CHILDREN. YOU NEED JAIL TIME SO YOU COULD SIT AND THINK OVER HOW VERY SERIOUS SOMETHING LIKE THIS REALLY IS.

  3. That’s what the school counselor said a week before the Columbine School shooting!! If this were my 19 year I would drive him to jail!!

  4. Most of our Children love Heard County School and would rather have their parents pay an out of county charge just to go there. yes there should be jail time for scaring all these students and families, I am one of them! He needs to know his “I didn’t mean any harm” caused a lot of harm emotionly to these children!

  5. He needs to be charged for his actions.. This is no laughing matter, he could’ve hurt our children at hchs.. And if he gets by with it and all this dies down he may continue on with his threat & go into the school with no warning signs & then it would be bad! Us has parents shouldn’t have to worry about our kids at school but we do because of stupid idiots just like this one!

  6. If not jail time put his name out there so the public knows to watch out for this family

  7. His parents should take him” out behind the barn”. In jail he just gets a better criminal education.

  8. Sandi Allen says:

    If this person is not charged…we the people of Heard County need to ask “why?” This is a crime. I will say it again…THIS IS A CRIME. I have grand kids at HHS and a niece and nephew. This is not a joke! Terroristic Threats is a serious crime. If this was a family member of mine, I would say…you do the crime, you do the time. It does not matter who it is, or who they are kin to, or if they were serious or not, they need to be charged.

    • Tesia McCormick says:

      I totally agree with you !!! It was a terroristic Threat & this person deserves punishment !!! This is no laughing matter, it doesn`t matter who it was that did this, they need to be shown THIS IS WRONG !!!

  9. This comments are true. But remember “YOUR KIDS” JUST MIGHT BE the one in the situation. Idk what anyone says he’s been thru hell and back. Image your kid coming home getting made fun of,getting screamed at saying go commit suicide because nobody loves you and/or your not important to be one this earth too the point your balling your eyes out.People have no respect for mental /special needs kids. I don’t think he should be charged me personally knowing him for years he didn’t harm or do anything. Maybe sending him off to get help is HEARD COUNTYS best option. People jump to the gun about shit like this. Its stupid. Say what you want I really dont care. Andrew is not the person to harm anyone.trust me.

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