Philly bomb threat suspect arrested
A juvenile has been arrested in connection with a bomb threat to the Philadelphia Public Schools, the authorities said.
The juvenile is being charged with domestic terrorism and cyber stalking, both felony charges, Philadelphia Police Chief Eric Lyons said late Friday afternoon.
“No real threat of a bomb were found or believed to exist in connection with case,” Lyons said.
Lyons said that local, state and federal authorities were involved in investigating the threats and assisted in the arrest. These agencies include members of the Philadelphia Police Department, Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office, MS highway Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security.
Earlier in the day, former Philadelphia alderman Leroy Clemons posted a screenshot on his Facebook page and denounced the threat.
Federal authorities became involved and the district issued a statement on Facebook.
“Philadelphia High School is aware of a threat on social media involving a possible bombing,” the district said on Facebook early Friday morning in delaying the start of school.
“Local, Federal and State Authorities have been notified. Detectives are working hard to locate and identify the person responsible for the threat, and all buildings are being swept. The District takes the safety of our students and staff as its highest priority.
“We encourage all families to take time to reinforce the expectation for safe schools and responsible use of social media. If a student should see something or hear anything suspicious or concerning, they should immediately report these concerns to a trusted adult, district administrator, and/or law enforcement.”
Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark said Friday morning officials were “taking precautionary measures to make sure all of our campuses are safe.”
He went on to say local officials are “working with all levels of law enforcement to ensure schools are getting needed attention.”
“I was notified by Homeland Security and we are working with them to make sure there’s not a threat.”
The district said in an update about noon:
"The Philadelphia Police Department immediately began the investigation after notification of the threat and contacted multiple state authorities for their assistance.
"This morning, bomb-sniffing dogs were on campus before the students and staff arrived. The dogs and investigators swept every bus, building, and classroom at the middle and high school. Nothing was discovered.
Also, when students arrived on campus, they were directed to place their book bags in a secure location. Nothing was detected in any student’s book bag.
The students are now in class, and police officers will remain on campus throughout the day to serve as another layer of protection for our students and staff.
"Last night, authorities determined there was not a viable threat to Philadelphia Elementary for today. However, they will continue to monitor and investigate and will communicate with school district administrators throughout their process.
"Thank you to the Philadelphia Police Department, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Homeland Security for working to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
We will continue to communicate as new developments occur."