Federal authorities say a man has been indicted for threatening on Snapchat to shoot Ohio school students.
Authorities say the April 2018 threat targeted Parma High School in suburban Cleveland and led to hundreds of students missing classes over several days.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland says Russell Miley-Cruz was indicted on one count of transmission of an interstate threat and one count of obstruction of justice.
The 21-year-old man from Scranton, Pennsylvania, was arrested March 1. Online federal court records don’t list an attorney for him.
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Miley-Cruz sent a message to someone called “T.G.” on April 11, according to the grand jury indictment, reported Cleveland.com.
The Snapchat message said: “Don’t go to Parma High School tomorrow friend, we are about to shoot that [expletive] up alright man?
“Don’t tell the cops and you will be fine.”
A photo of the threat was shared on Facebook by a Cleveland resident, Matt Moody.
Do not know if this is real or not, but we’d all rather be safe than sorry. Inform your friends, send to Parma residents, SHARE SHARE SHARE. Contacting Parma City Schools about possible threat.
The indictment mentioned that Miley-Cruz lied to the investigators, provided them a wrong phone number, and denied using “djravetastic” as his Snapchat name, Cleveland reported.
He also lied about knowing no one in Parma, that he didn’t use a certain email account, and made several other false statements.
Snapchat has a feature that allows its users to take videos and photos that disappear in 24 hours from the time they are uploaded.
“Making threats to commit a school shooting are not taken lightly by law enforcement,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith said in a statement by the Northern District of Ohio Department of Justice.
— NDOHnews (@NDOHnews) March 1, 2019
“This individual induced fear in school personnel, students and their parents at Parma High School and wasted valuable law enforcement resources, and then he lied about being involved. Miley-Cruz will now answer to federal charges in a court of law. #Thinkbeforeyoupost,” Smith said.
FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson said Miley-Cruz and T.G. were online acquaintances, Cleveland reported.
Parma Police Chief Joseph Bobak said the threat panicked the community and affected students and staff for several days as parents pulled hundreds of children out of school.
A Pennsylvania man arrested Friday is charged with sending a Snapchat message in April 2018 that said he and others planned to commit a shooting at Parma Senior High School. https://t.co/U9qaWHQrWg
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) March 1, 2019
“Parma Police detectives, working alongside special agents from the FBI, diligently pursued all available leads on this case culminating in today’s arrest. I would like to thank the FBI for working together with our department to identify and arrest this individual. Without their assistance and resources, this outcome might not have been possible,” Bobak said in the statement.
Man indicted for Snapchat threat that targeted Parma High School https://t.co/Au9eP2tL7A
— fox8news (@fox8news) March 2, 2019
Social media has increasingly become a platform where students express suicide warning and shooting threats, according to The74million.org.
74million talks about tools like Safe2Tell that allow parents and students anonymously report information about potential violent threats.
“After the Parkland shooting, lawmakers in Florida took it a step further and mandated a new database that combines law enforcement and social services records with social media activity to help officials investigate students who post suspicious or threatening information online,” the organization said.
The organization also mentions another helpful tool called “Social Sentinel” that “collects social media data and uses artificial intelligence to run posts against a ‘library of harm’ containing some 450,000 phrases, keywords, hashtags—even emojis—that he said could indicate a suspicious post. School districts are then notified, via email or text message.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.