UPDATE: 2:57 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26
A Herndon, VA, juvenile with past connections to Cumberland County is facing multiple charges in relation to a bomb threat directed at the Cumberland County Schools.
The threat, posted on the district’s Facebook page on the evening of Jan. 25, indicated a potential threat for the following day, said a press release from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with Crossville Police Department and Cumberland County Director of Schools William Stepp.
“Upon discovery of the threatening post, which was made using a counterfeit Facebook profile with a stolen photograph of an uninvolved student, the Crossville/Cumberland County Threat Response Task Force assisted by the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security was immediately mobilized to address the potential danger and launch a comprehensive investigation,” the press release said.
According to the press release, the Task Force’s efforts enabled them to identify the 16-year-old suspect.
“Working in collaboration with Fairfax County [Virginia] law enforcement authorities, officers visited the juvenile’s residence and ascertained that no credible threat existed at the location,” the press release said. “Despite the claim of the threat being a joke, the severity of the incident has prompted serious legal consequences.”
Authorities said charges the juvenile is facing include threats of mass violence, filing a false report, and criminal impersonation.
Cumberland County Schools and law enforcement agencies emphasized in the press release that the safety and well-being of students and staff are of the highest concern.
“Any threat to our schools is taken extremely seriously and will be met with the appropriate response to protect our community,” authorities said via the press release. “The swift action of the involved agencies underscores the seriousness of such actions and the commitment to maintaining a safe educational environment.”
The Crossville/Cumberland County Threat Response Task Force consists of officials and investigators of the Crossville Police Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Schools, 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and other resources.
ORIGINAL: 10:13 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25
Threats against a Cumberland County School are “non-credible,” school and law enforcement officials said Thursday evening.
Director of Schools William Stepp, in an online post and video, said that threats against an unspecified school were made by an out-of-state juvenile. The announcement followed several hours of investigation by multiple agencies after a post to the school system’s Facebook page issued a bomb threat for Friday morning.
“This evening there were online threats that did not identify a specific school,” Stepp wrote. “Multiple agencies, in conjunction with my team, investigated the incident and determined the threats originated from one out-of-state juvenile.”
Stepp said the juvenile used the profile photo of a current Cumberland County Schools student, but that student was not involved in the threatening statements.
“It has been out of an abundance of caution that these agencies have thoroughly investigated and deemed this threat to be non-credible.”
Stepp added appropriate law enforcement agencies in the other state have been notified of the juvenile’s threats.
“Cumberland County Schools would like to thank the public for their posts of concern, reporting of the threats, and immediate response to this situation. Cumberland County Schools would also like to thank Homeland Security, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the Crossville Police Department for their diligent investigation in getting to the source of this threat.”
Stepp added school principals and resource officers have been notified and extra security measures are being implemented on Friday.
“As always, safety is our number 1 priority,” Stepp wrote.
Friday will be the first day classes have been held in Cumberland County since Jan. 12, when schools were closed with a threat of severe weather. A winter storm paralyzed the community for several days, with ice lingering on several secondary roads into Wednesday evening.
UPDATE: 2:57 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26