UPDATE: Arrests made after online threats in Tangipahoa Parish
UPDATE: Arrests have been made in connection with the alleged social media threats that caused fear and panic in Tangipahoa Parish today.
As a result of the online threats, one 17-year-old female was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The minor child has been charged with terrorizing.
Simultaneously – in a separate incident – with the increased law enforcement presence at one of our local high schools, deputies intercepted an additional threat that was made by an 18-year-old male student – Troy Webber of Amite, LA – threatening to shoot his fellow students and faculty upon returning to school this morning. This incident was investigated and found to be a creditable threat. Webber was taken into custody and charged with terrorizing.
PONCHATOULA, LA – An overnight search of Ponchatoula High School turned up “no credible evidence” of a threat to the school or its students, according to Tangipahoa Parish School System officials.
The search was conducted after a threat to the school circulated on social media, but it turns out it wasn’t a direct threat to Tangipahoa Parish or its schools.
The sheriff’s office was notified about 10 p.m. Sunday of the potential threat.
By morning, detectives identified a juvenile student enrolled in one of our local area schools as a source for sharing the alleged social media threat. The juvenile received the initial post from a 17- year-old family member and then shared the post on Snapchat.
The post stated, “Don’t go to school Monday. A school shooting is going to happen and they are warning everyone. But the ones who do show up there are doing an investigation.”
The post is believed to have originated from a social media site referencing an incident that was to occur at an out of state school. The post had no merit or bearing on Tangipahoa Parish or its schools.
It is estimated that the post was viewed by at least 364 Snapchat viewers from three separate Snapchat accounts. Consequently, rumors of the post went viral, causing fear and panic.
Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards oversaw the search and assigned extra officers to patrol the school along with local officers, according to the TPSS.
“Our department is aware that there are concerns regarding threats to our schools in the area and as always, we take this very seriously,” Ponchatoula Police Department officials said in a Facebook post. “Therefore, we will have officers at every school in our city for the entire week. Your children’s safety is our number one concern and we will do everything we can to keep them safe.”