NASHVILLE, Tenn. (KDKA/AP) – A Nashville teen has been arrested on a state terrorism charge after being accused of threatening schools in Tennessee and three other states, including at least one local school here in Pennsylvania.
Authorities say the joint investigation by police and the FBI led them to the student, who is accused of being responsible for multiple emails and telephone calls threatening violence in schools in Tennessee, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Police say he is linked to a bomb threat made to Brashear High School on March 20.
The arrest complaint filed in federal court in Nashville by the FBI is chilling. The email to Brashear was addressed to the high staff.
According to the criminal complaint, it stated, in part that a bomb had been placed on the school campus of Brashear High, or would be placed there. It goes on to say, “Now, since I’m such a nice person, I decided to take the time to inform you before the destruction.”
Authorities have not said he’s connected to a recent threat that shut down Seton-La Salle High School for three days, but Mt. Lebanon Police are looking for a possible connection, issuing a statement reading:
“We’re looking for possible links between the investigation in Tennessee and our investigation into the threats sent to faculty at Seton-La Salle. We are also making comparisons to recent threats that were received by schools in other parts of the country.”
Police were so concerned about one of the threats Thursday that they closed a high school in Nashville and wouldn’t clear it to open until the bomb squad and K-9s swept the campus.
Authorities did not describe the nature of the threats.
The student has not been identified and police have not given his age. Police would only say he lives in south Nashville and attends an alternative school.
He was booked at a juvenile detention facility after being taken into custody.
Details of the teen were kept so secret that a spokeswoman for Metro Nashville Public Schools said police had not even told them the identity of the student that had been taken into custody Thursday evening.
“I want all young people to understand that if you make these threats against schools, you can be federally and locally charged,” said Tony Majors, of Metro Nashville Public Schools.
The teen was expected to face federal charges later Friday and appear before a magistrate judge at a hearing closed to the public and the media.
“This particular case showcases that we can have success if you will, even despite efforts to block the origin of the message,” said Capt. Mike Alexander, of the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Ten email messages threatening violence were made to Nashville schools between March 16 and April 16, police said. On Thursday, Nashville police said, the threats against Antioch High School were so specific that Antioch High School officials dismissed classes at 9:45 a.m. and told parents not to drive to the school to pick up their kids. Authorities did not reveal the details of the threat.
Police and the FBI have been investigating the threats for more than a month, which proved difficult because the teen was able to mask his online identity, authorities said.
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