Authorities: 9/11-themed threats against schools on social media not credible

Authorities: 9/11-themed threats against schools on social media not credible

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities across South Carolina say they will remain vigilant as always but maintain there is no evidence of a credible threat behind posts warning of 9/11-themed attacks targeting South Carolina schools on Friday.

Friday is Sept. 11.

One version of the post claims the poster received a call from a "reliable source in law enforcement" who said the Black Panthers group issued a threat to all South Carolina schools targeting white students and teachers. The caller warned "it would be wise" to keep kids out of school that day.

Another version is posted by someone who claims to have been called from "a very good friend" who works for the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. That post claims the caller said the group has been given orders to go into schools and colleges and kill white students and teachers as well as all white law enforcement officers and others.

This alternate version of the post specifically mentions the Union, Gaffney and Spartanburg areas, where gangs are purported to be "are building up to attack" on Sept. 11, but then urges parents not to send students to school on Monday.

Sept. 11 has not fallen on a Monday since 2006.

Charleston deputies say there is no credible threat to the posts.

"We have found nothing to substantiate this social media rumor," Charleston County Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said in a statement.

Charleston County School District spokesperson Erica Taylor released a statement Thursday on the threats, saying the district's Office of Security contacted the district's public safety partners.

"They have all advised us that at this time, this is not a credible threat," Taylor said in the statement.

Berkeley County Sheriff's spokesman Michael Mulé said they have been in touch with the State Law Enforcement Division after learning of the the posts.

"SLED's analytical team told us they can find no verifiable threat," Mulé said. "Every day we are prepared to act quickly and Friday will not be any different."

Dorchester County deputies, likewise, are aware of the traffic on social media, but they have not been able to determine any "actionable threat," according to Dorchester County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Phinney.

"As far as we know, there is no evidence it was related to the Lowcountry," he said. Phinney said the department has been in contact with school districts and school resource officers, and they intend to remain vigilant as always.

The Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office also issued a statement late Thursday, stating they have likewise found no evidence that this is a valid threat.

"The Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office, will continue to monitor social media, public tips, and suspicious activity reports for any valid threat to officers, first responders, and citizens for the approaching Sept. 11 Anniversary," Investigator Alex Edwards said.

Authorities in Anderson and Union Counties said they were aware of the threats as well.

Anderson County Sheriff's Lt. Sheila Cole said the department had not received threats from DHS or "any other federal agency that would give credibility to these postings."

Union County Sheriff David Taylor said his department did not think the post was "a realistic threat."

Horry County Police say they investigated the threats as well and agrees with the findings of the investigation conducted by the intelligence agents.

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