Cumberland Sheriff's Office say Pine Forest High School is safe after shooting threat

This school shooting threat posted on social media sites caused fear and panic at Pine Forest High School.
October 7, 2013 6:39:08 PM PDT
The Cumberland County Sherriff's Office was on standby Monday morning after identifying the source of a mass school shooting threat that spread across the internet over the weekend.

Authorities and school officials continue to assure the public that Pine Forest High School is safe, and running smoothly after deputies worked with law enforcement in Louisiana to identify the source of the threats against the Fayetteville school.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office first started investigating the threat of violence Saturday and worked diligently throughout the weekend to locate the 15-year-old juvenile when their investigation led them to Louisiana where the teen's parents live.

The teen said it was all a joke that got out of hand on social media. The suspect's father turned his son in to authorities Sunday afternoon. Police, along with school officials, have said the juvenile will faces charges.

"When I find out what school system he's with, I'm going to contact the school system and let them know that he in fact did something against the school system that not only caused the school system the dance, but caused them concern and I'm going to ask the superintendent to take disciplinary action against him," Cumberland County Superintendent Dr. Frank Till told ABC11 Monday.

Deputies said they first learned of the threat from parents of Pine Forest High School students who were calling for answers all weekend after messages showed up on the social media websites Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

It appeared the threatening message was first posted on Edmodo, an intra-school system website, and then shared by others.

The posting read like a heartbroken, bullied boy who had enough -- stating he would shoot up Pine Forest High School before killing himself.

The threat prompted extra law enforcement on campus, the cancellation of Saturday's Homecoming dance, and an open investigation by the Sheriff's Department and Cumberland County schools.

Some anxious parents said they would not send their kids to school on Monday. School officials said only 663 student were in class Monday. Nearly 1,000 students did not come to school, meaning 60 percent of students stayed home.

"I mean as far as I'm concerned there's no school Monday," said Tammy Harris, parent of a sophomore. "It was scary. It was scary. All I could think was 'he's not going to school."

"Kinda made my heart drop," added Rachel Underwood, parent of a freshman. "Whether it's a joke or not, they shouldn't be placing that on anything."

High school students were also on edge Monday, saying it had to do with how specific the threat was.

Till said that the teen accessed the school system website after an employee at Pine Forest High School posted the school's accounts and passwords. He said a "lackness on our own part exposed the sight to this."

"We've done everything we could to make the school safe as everybody knows now this is a hoax, but we have a philosophy of err on the side of caution," Till said.

Authorities have not addressed who the suspect is specifically, but Till said he wants to know what school district the boy is from and make sure he is punished there as well.

The superintendent has sent emails to all the school principals in the county telling them to check that their accounts are secure. He also sent a letter going over the procedures to secure accounts.

Overhills High School in Harnett County was also included in the fake post over the weekned and was put on heightened security.

See It On TV | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Send us photos
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments