ST. LOUIS – St. Louis police responded to a shooting threat at St. Mary’s High School Tuesday. Investigators determined the threat was a hoax.
Police in Columbia responded to a similar threat that was unfounded. On Tuesday, Chesterfield police said that a student has been found to be behind a threat made on social media about Marquette High School. Police said that the student could face criminal charges.
The increase in hoax threats has been a pattern following school shootings. Following last month’s deadly shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, the FBI warned hoax threats would likely increase.
“We take all of these threats incredibly seriously,” said Jay Greenberg, special agent in charge of the FBI’s St. Louis field office.
He said hoax threats will be investigated until a source is found.
“It tends to be very, very easy to track them down,” Greenberg said.
He said a five-year prison sentence is a possibility for committing a hoax threat. Greenberg adds that the threats waste law enforcement resources.
“These same agents or officers would be responding to calls for service or responding to other violent incident crimes that are happening in our area,” he said.
The threats can also take an emotional toll on those already suffering from last month’s deadly school shooting. Mario McFadden is the uncle of a student at St. Mary’s High School. He is also the parent of a student and Central Visual and Performing Arts.
“It’s too much,” said McFadden. “This world today, it’s too much.”
Greenberg said schools remain one of the safest places for young adults and children. He encourages anyone aware of a threat to contact law enforcement. Greenberg also encourages parents to remind their children about the appropriate use of smartphones and social media.
You can hear the regret from one student who posted a social media threat through a public service announcement released by the FBI.