October 28, 2020

Arrest made in Heard County Social Media Threat Case

(Franklin, GA) — The suspect in the Heard County High School social media threat case turned himself into authorities Friday night and is currently in the Heard County jail facing multiple charges.

19-year-old Andrew Owen Sanders of Franklin is charged with one count of Terroristic Threats and Acts as well as one count of Disrupting a Public School resulting from a social media post he admitted to posting on a site called 4chan.org.

According to a press release issued late Friday evening by Franklin Police Chief Kevin Hannah, officials from the Franklin Police Department consulted with the District Attorney’s Office Friday afternoon regarding specific charges in the case.

Andrew Owen Sanders

Andrew Owen Sanders

After a thorough review of the information obtained during the investigation by the Franklin Police Department, arrest warrants were issued for Sanders.

The alleged threat posted by Sanders on Wednesday simply stated “Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to Heard County High School, in Franklin, Georgia, on 11:28 a.m. tomorrow.”

The FBI alerted local law enforcement and school officials about the post and parents were alerted Thursday morning prior to the beginning of the school day.

School was not officially cancelled because authorities did not believe the post to be a direct threat.

Extra security was on hand at the high school all day as well as the four other county schools. Only an estimated 15 percent (about 75-85) of the students remained for the full day of classes at HHS.

“Although the language in this post was vague, it is very similar to that of a message posted on the same social media site that Federal investigators examined during their investigation of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015,” said Chief Hannah in the press release.

Sanders admitted to authorities that he had copied the post. He is a former student and 2015 graduate of the high school.

“Although no credible evidence was obtained during the investigation to indicate Sanders had planned any form of physical harm to the staff and students, the totality of the social media post made by Sanders is a criminal offense,” stated Chief Hannah.

The Heard Citizen spoke with a former classmate of Sanders Friday night who asked not to be identified.

“Andrew is a unique individual that we all know has always dealt with some mental and social handicaps,” said the classmate. “I feel sure that he doesn’t even have the capability to understand what he has done and I just hope that this situation can lead to him getting the help that he needs. He was an important part of our class and we are all praying for him and we are all worried about him.”

 

Comments

  1. ANDREW!!!! Really this is too ******* hard to believe! After everything’s peoples put him thru,bullied , telling him, To commit suicide because people don’t love him. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  2. I know Andrew personally. Yes he is a former class mate of mine, but I call him a friend. Andrew is far from stupid, and he’s fsr from ignorant. That young man has every mental capabillity that a “normal” person would have. He has social disabilities. What ever those things are. I dont know exactly what happened. But what I do know is that each and every single post on 4chan is anonymous. All of them. And I’m very confident in the fact that if Andrew says he copied a post, he meant it literally, and did just that. What post he copied, I have no earthly idea. But that kid was a good friend of mine from the day he got here. I cant say the same for everyone else, cause most of the people I went to school with were ignorant douchebags. Andrew was just a really cool smart guy, with autism, that everyone made fun of. Or aspergers. Or something. I dont know cause he never told me and I never asked. It was never imoortant to me, and I never once made fun of him for something he couldnt help. Then again, I’m not an asshole, and I have no idea what a retard is. Maybe people need to start focusing on bullying a little bit more. People have killed themselves for crap posted on 4chan, and lots of em. Because its a website fueled by bullies. Always has been. Maybe the site should be permanently shut down. But that’s just my opinion.

  3. While this was a scare. it is done and no one was hurt. Let’s pray for this young man to get the assistance he needs. Thank you to the professionals at each level for their efforts in handling this situation and for protecting our young people!

  4. I hope our county will be an example unto ourselves. I hope we will be an example of grace. I am so thankful to the FBI, local law enforcement, and school personnel for taking this so seriously, because anytime a threat is made like this it is serious. “Better safe than sorry” has been a saying for a long time and for good reason. With that being said, I’m thankful no one was hurt, I’m thankful it was a peaceful day at HCHS, I’m thankful this incident made me slow down the usual morning hustle of “get to school” and made me hold my kids a little longer, hug my spouse a little tighter. I hope our students and parents saw the love that law enforcement and school administrators have for our children. I hope we see from this incident that when it really counts we can count on one another. What this kid did was wrong yes, but this kid is somebody’s child. Ultimately no one was hurt. Lets don’t be the kind of community that crucifies someone for the sake of “making an example”. We never know what our children will put us through as they grow up. So let’s show grace and kindness and forgiveness in the hopes that we too will reap grace, kindness, and forgiveness someday. Prayers for this young man, his family, and our incredible community. How blessed we all are to live in a community that cares so much for one another.

  5. God Bless Andrew and his family!

  6. HE WAS A GOOD BOY, HE DINDU NUFFIN

  7. Andy is somewhat like Rainman (you know the movie with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman) extremely intelligent but could never live alone or take care of himself. He doesn’t even brush his teeth unless directed to do so. He probably does not even comprehend the implication of what he did. He quotes movie lines and commercials all the time as a means of communication. He has told me your fired and will never work again and then hug me. He’s not violent at all, actually extremely gentle and child like. He has autism and maybe has the social mind of an 11 year old.

  8. I knew Andrew personaly he was a former classmate of mine as well he was a nice guy he is unique but all he wanted was a friend and have a little bit of attention I didn’t mind him but other well

  9. My husband and I have known Andrew for 6 years through his mother and stepdad.. Andy is an intelligent young man with autism. His social skills are lacking significantally. We have never seen anger or aggression with this young man. I’m positive that Andy had no idea what the consequences of his actions would be. I’m praying that the prosecutor will show lieniency towards Andy. Life is hard for him as it is without the added felony charge.

  10. Anonymous says

    First and foremost, I am only an internet acquaintance of Andrew. I would like to consider myself an outsider to this situation, merely an observer. I have no strong feelings for or against Andrew. However, I was very shocked to find this article. Based off what I’ve observed from his interactions with other people, I don’t think it was a legitimate threat. Andrew has been known to…overdramaticize things and make empty threats for attention. However, I don’t think he would have ever gone through with any of it. Also, I don’t think he fully comprehends the weight of what he said.
    That’s just my two cents, though.

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