HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - A 14-year-old Hammond boy faces terrorizing charges in connection with an early morning online post, and the FBI played a critical role in cracking the case.
"The Hammond Police Department received a call approximately around 4:30. They had received information from their office in Washington D.C. that someone had posted on the social media of a threat to Hammond Schools," said Hammond Police Chief Roddy Devall.
We contacted the FBI New Orleans Division for more information about the post.
"A member of the public contacted the FBI's Public Access Line to report a potential school threat," said FBI Public Affairs Specialist Craig Betbeze. "The threat was made in an online posting which referenced an unidentified school in Hammond. The FBI New Orleans Division notified the Hammond Police Department, used the FBI's cyber capabilities to pinpoint the location from which the threat emanated, then turned the results over to the Hammond PD and Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office for further investigation."
During a hastily called press conference in Hammond on Tuesday, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards expounded on the threat.
"The specific threat would have been the posting of some type of cartoon character with like an AK-47, and it said basically if you go to school in Hammond, it would be best if you don't go tomorrow. And this was like posted in the wee hours," Edwards said.
"It was something he pulled off line because actually it was a cartoon character holding a weapon," added Chief Devall.
Local authorities were not convinced that the boy actually planned to commit any violence.
"In the post, there was nothing said about a shooting," Devall said.
Still, they said the investigation would continue.
"We have to make sure that he acted alone, we have to make sure he didn't intend to carry this out, which we feel comfortable that he did not, but we have to do further investigation," Edwards said.
The teen has been cooperating with investigators.
"My officer who was there said he was cooperative. I think the mother helped a lot in that particular case," Devall said.
The teenager's intentions aside, authorities were not happy about the inconvenience resulting from his actions.
"It is a tremendous inconvenience to the public. The man hours that were spent, the parents that feared for their child's safety, the teachers that were in fear, all the chaos. This is the type of activity that we cannot tolerate, will not tolerate," Devall said.
And they reiterated that parents need to monitor their children's online behavior.
"Please, parents talk to your children. I know one parent of this young man, they're very good people, so I know that this child was raised in a very good environment, as far as I know he's never been in trouble," Devall said.
The teen remains in custody awaiting a hearing in Juvenile Court.