Teen arrested after alleged Hammond schools threat

Teen arrested after alleged Hammond schools threat

HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - Authorities reported a 14-year-old was arrested in connection with an alleged threat of violence at Hammond schools reportedly posted on social media.

The teen is charged with terrorizing. His name was not released. Officials said a cartoon depicting violence with a message that read, "If you go to Hammond schools, you shouldn't go tomorrow."

Principal Donna Wallet of Holy Ghost Catholic School in Hammond sent a mass media message to parents Tuesday morning, the Hammond Star newspaper reported.

The newspaper reported the principal's message stated:

"We have just been informed by the Hammond Police Department that a Facebook comment was posted suggesting that students who live in Hammond should not go to school today. It did not state which school, public or private. As a precaution, we will remain in lockdown mode throughout the day unless otherwise directed. However, if you choose to keep your child home today, it will not be counted as an absence."

Hammond Police Chief RoddyDevall said his department received a call from the FBI in New Orleans around 4:30 a.m. He added the Washington, DC office of the FBI contacted the one in New Orleans and told agents someone had posted a threat on social media directed toward Hammond schools.

Devall said officers immediately started investigating the alleged threat, with the FBI providing information needed to locate a suspect. He added officers and deputies with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office were sent to a home and the 14-year-old was taken into custody.

"The seriousness of this offense is almost unbelievable," Devall said. "I would urge that please, parents, talk to your kids and let them understand exactly what this entails."

"It's going to cause a lot of problems for this young man and we would like for it to not happen again to anyone else," he added.

"To be able to ascertain the actual IP address as quickly as we did and to find out the physical location for that IP address is connected to, and to be able to determine the owner of that address and to be able to go and talk with them along with the minor child; all of that was done very quickly," Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said. "But it was done because of a coordinated effort on behalf of the FBI, the Hammond Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office."

Investigators also stated it is not believed there was no serious intent to follow through with the threat. Public and private schools in Hammond were placed on lockdown as a precaution. The lockdowns were lifted after a few hours and all schools returned to normal operations.

"But the extra manpower that the Hammond Police Department had to put on board, had to put out there, to help solve this particular case. The extra manpower that we at the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office had to put out there is unbelievable. The inconvenience to the school system and we have our superintendent, Mark Kolwe here, who we were on the phone with him this morning at 4:30 as well, dealing with these issues. It is a tremendous inconvenience to the public, the man hours that were spent. the parents who were in fear for their child's safety, the teachers who were in fear, all the chaos. This is the type of activity that we cannot tolerate, that we will not tolerate. And unfortunately, this 14-year-old minor may not have intended it to have as serious consequences as it did, but he's going to have to answer for that and I just want the public to know we're not going to tolerate these types of things," Edwards added.

The Hammond Police Department added the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office has taken over the investigation. The FBI is still actively involved in the investigation.

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