Messages about student’s killing put Summerville High School on brief lockdown

VIDEO: Messages about student’s killing put Summerville High School on brief lockdown

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester County deputies say a person now believed to be overseas contacted Summerville High School students on social media about the shooting death of a 16-year-old student.

The school went under a “soft lockdown” Wednesday morning while deputies investigated messages sent on Snapchat to a Summerville student, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Maj. Tony Phinney said. The student who received the messages forwarded screen grabs of the conversation to law enforcement.

A user with the screen name “Hippo” claimed to have knowledge of the Monday night shooting that killed Jaquarie Perry and was trying to encourage retaliation, Phinney said.

“Detectives quickly learned through internet providers and other sources that ‘Hippo’ was ‘trolling’ the students and is most likely overseas,” Phinney said. He said deputies released the information to help dispel any rumors being spread online.

Jaquarie Perry, 16, was shot and killed Monday while walking in the Flowertown neighborhood across Boone Hill Road from Summerville High School where he was a student.
Jaquarie Perry, 16, was shot and killed Monday while walking in the Flowertown neighborhood across Boone Hill Road from Summerville High School where he was a student. (Source: Dorchester County Sheriff's Office)

In a message to parents sent Wednesday morning, Summerville High School leaders said the internet activity was traced to England.

“An individual there took advantage of the tragedy in our community and attempted to use social media to cause fear and chaos in our school,” the statement read.

Deputies are continuing to follow leads in Perry’s shooting. He was walking Monday night in the Flowertown neighborhood when he was shot. He died a short time later. Deputies are going through each of the leads they are receiving to solve the case, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Lt. Rick Carson said.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Dorchester County Criminal Investigations Unit at 843-832-0350 or the non-emergency number after hours at 843-873-5111.

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