Since a teenager shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week, rumors and reports of school violence have been widespread across the country, even in our local area.
In Johnston County, authorities said social media posts indicated potential threats at South Johnston High and Corinth Holders High. After investigating, officials said there was no credible threat at either school, rather unsubstantiated claims being shared by parents and students on social media accounts.
On Feb. 14th, Johnston County deputies did arrest 17 year-old Javier Vustos Figeuroa of Government Road, Clayton, a student at Cleveland High School, after he was allegedly overheard by classmates threatening to commit a mass shooting at the school.
In Harnett County, Sheriff Wayne Coats said writing was discovered Monday afternoon on a girls bathroom stall wall at Harnett Central Middle School stating “School Shooting Feb. 20”.
Coats said the incident is currently under investigation. As a precaution additional deputies were assigned to the middle school Tuesday.
“The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office takes any form of threat seriously and the Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate any type of threat to our students and staff,” Sheriff Coats said in a statement. “We appreciate students and parents contacting the Sheriff’s Office/School Officials with any information concerning any type of threat.”
Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce said his department has been alerted to numerous social media posts concerning possible violence to occur at a number of high schools in Wayne County.
“This apparently became public knowledge on Friday through a concerned citizen reporting that they overheard another individual who was quoting a conversation between another that this second person heard,” Sherif Pierce said in an email to local media. “The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office began their investigation on Friday and tracked the conversation as far back as they could concerning the alleged threat. The deputy learned through his investigation with the individual participating in the original conversation that they did not hear anyone say that they were planning to inflict violence at a high school.”
Since that time, additional interviews have been conducted by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and no credible threat has been discovered. Additionally, no social media site or post has been located or forwarded to the Wayne County Sheriff’s office to substantiate any threat.
Sheriff Pierce said as a precaution, and in light of the Florida school shooting and increased concerns of school violence, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office has placed additional deputies at area high schools as well as advising the patrol shift deputies to stay near the schools.
What To Do
If you hear or see on social media a threat to cause harm at any school, contact your nearest law enforcement agency or a school resource officer before tagging, liking or recirculating the information online. If any person is identified as having made a credible threat of violence towards a school appropriate charges will be filed against the individual.