Student taken into custody for making threat to Hickman High School

Posted on 3 March 2018 at 6:00pm
Story image: Student taken into custody for making threat to Hickman High School

COLUMBIA - Police took a 15-year-old student into custody for allegedly posting a threatening message on Facebook while using someone else's phone and Facebook account. The post threatened to shoot students at Hickman High School and included a racial slur, according to a news release from the city.

The release said police contacted the owner of the Facebook account and discovered the owner only had access to the account from his phone. The suspect had stolen the phone.

The owner said he had not posted the message, but believed the suspect had because he had confronted him about stealing the phone. 

According to the owner, the suspect sent him a Snapchat of a screenshot of the threatening post with an overlay that said “watch out,” and posted that screenshot to his own Snapchat story.

When officers contacted the suspect, he said he found the phone earlier in the day but threw it away in a dumpster. Police found the phone, which had been reset to factory settings, on the trunk of a car parked in front of the suspect’s residence. 

Hickman High School Principal Tony Gragnani sent out this letter to parents:

I want to make you aware of an incident that occurred last night. I want to provide you with accurate information and discourage rumors. 
Last night, at approximately 9 p.m. a threat mentioning Hickman High School was reported to the school and law enforcement. The threat was posted to social media by a student using another student’s phone and social media account without permission from the student whose account and phone were used. Law enforcement conducted an investigation and took the student who posted the threat in to custody late last night. While the threat has determined not to be credible, the school district is taking appropriate disciplinary action and the juvenile faces legal consequences. A news release with specific information on charges will be sent out by law enforcement later today.  
Please know that the safety of our students and staff is always our number one priority. We take it seriously. We are grateful to the police department for its continued vigilance in keeping our schools safe and we are grateful that individuals in our school-community continue to do the right thing and report anything they see or hear that makes them feel unsafe in anyway. Even if the posts or threats are determined not to be credible, it is imperative that we encourage students to report information so that we can continue to keep all of our schools safe havens.
Please don't hesitate to reach out and ask questions. 

The 15-year-old is facing legal consequences such as suspicion of making a terroristic threat, stealing, tampering with physical evidence, as well as the additional enhancement for hate crimes. All of these are felonies. 

(This article has been updated with the latest information.)