(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) — More than half the students at a Fayetteville, N.C., high school stayed home Monday after a threat to shoot up the school was posted on the school’s social media website, even though the threat was not considered credible, a school official said.
While Pine Forest High School is open Monday, only 663 students out of 1,650 came to school after the threat spread across social media, Cumberland County Schools spokeswoman Patricia Hollingsworth told ABC News.
Over the weekend, a 15-year-old Louisiana boy was identified as the suspect.
The boy, whose name has not been released, reportedly posted the threat on Pine Forest High School’s intra-school system website, Edmodo, before it was shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the weekend, ABC’s Raleigh-Durham affiliate WTVD-TV reported.
The threatening note, which the teenager posted under the user name Mr. Sucka666, was written to the Pine Forest High School Class of 2014, and specifically targeted a student named Erin.
The suspect wrote that he loved Erin, but he could no longer tolerate the torment. He said he was going to harm students in retaliation on Monday, the message said.
“This is my final post here Erin. I always loved you. I am sorry for making this fake edmodo,” he wrote. “You know me. I love you, and I’ll try my best not to shoot you Monday, but I can’t say the same for the rest of the kids.
“This is not a joke. I love you Erin, and you may not feel the same for me. But Savannah, Calvin Anderson and all those other pr**ks who bullied me into acting like a robot, you WILL feel the lead of my gun go through your [expletive] heart on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. I am going to shoot up the school and then kill myself,” he wrote.
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna told ABC News that investigators began working to trace the posting’s origin at 1 a.m. Saturday.
Tanna said officials could trace the threat to a town in Louisiana. The suspect’s father turned his son into authorities on Sunday.
The boy will face a misdemeanor charge, Tanna said. If he had been a resident of North Carolina, he could have faced a felony charge for threatening a school with mass destruction.
“We want to send a message. We’re not going to tolerate this kind of a threat,” she said.
Tanna said she did not know if the suspect knew the students mentioned, and that she did not believe he had ever lived in North Carolina.
It is unknown if the boy is in custody, or if he was remanded to the custody of his family, Tanna said.
While the threat was not credible, said Tanna, the Pine Forest High School community is still on guard.
“We have beefed up our deputy patrol at the school today, just to make people feel better,” Tanna said. “At this point, there is no reason for anyone in that school to feel unsafe. The threat was never going to happen as it had been planned according to the message.”
Hollingsworth said she had not read the letter posted by the 15-year-old but said he somehow gained access to the school’s social media website to post the threat.
Some parents of Pine Forest High School students told ABC affiliate WTVD-TV on Sunday that they did not plan to send their children to school on Monday.
“I mean, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no school Monday,” said Tammy Harris, whose son is a sophomore at Pine Forest. “No parent’s going to send their kid to school Monday. Absolutely not. I just won’t take the chance. Joke or not.”
The high school’s homecoming dance was canceled on Saturday night as a result of the threat and has not been rescheduled, Hollingsworth said.
This is not the first time the Fayetteville high school has been on high alert. In April, authorities went to arrest a student at Pine Forest High School on an outstanding warrant when they found another student, who had recently withdrawn from school, sitting in his car in the school parking lot. Upon searching his car, they uncovered a gun under the 18-year-old’s front seat that had been reported stolen from a local police department.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Saeed Ahmed and Thom Patterson, CNN
Madison Park, CNN