Suspect Identified in At Least 12 Bomb Threats Made Against Mississippi Colleges

The additional threats come just days after at least two dozen colleges and universities in other states received similar ones.

Suspect Identified in At Least 12 Bomb Threats Made Against Mississippi Colleges

(Photo: Marzky Ragsac Jr., Adobe Stock)

UPDATE –  8/2/22

A suspect has been identified in the case of at least 12 bomb threats made last week at several Mississippi colleges and universities, a state official said Monday.

“I can tell you, without getting too detailed into the investigation, we have identified a source of the bomb threat,” said Keith Davis, deputy commissioner of operations at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The threats, which were made at both public and private universities as well as several community colleges, occurred the day after similar threats were made in Alabama and Tennessee, Yahoo reports. Officials did not say if those cases are connected to the same suspect.

Original Article – 7/19/22

Another string of bomb threats has plagued at least two dozen colleges and universities, largely in Virginia and Florida and at community colleges.

Six institutions in southeastern Virginia’s Hampton Roads region received bomb threats on July 12, reports Yahoo. The campuses include Regent University in Virginia Beach, Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia Peninsula Community College in Hampton, Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin, Eastern Shore Community College in Accomack County, and Norfolk State University.

The calls came in between 11:11 a.m. and 1:23 p.m. All of the campuses went into lockdown but no explosives were found. Most resumed normal operations later in the day. Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta also received a threat of a bomb in a classroom around 11:40 a.m. but no explosives were found.

Tidewater Community College received a threat of a backpack bomb with a timer located in an unknown area on campus, according to the Chesapeake Fire Department. The college was evacuated and the school sent out a campus-wide notification telling people to stay clear of police activity. TCC spokesperson Laura Sanford said police and fire officials arrived on the scene at 11:47 a.m. and gave the “all-clear” at 11:58 a.m., reports The Daily Press.

An all-clear was issued at Regent after university and Virginia Beach police conducted a sweep. VPCC police received a call of a threat at 12:18 p.m. and they notified Hampton police and fire. A K-9 unit searched a dormitory but did not locate any device. An all-clear was given at 2:18 p.m.

At Norfolk State, a threat was made against the university’s administration building. Several law enforcement agencies responded along with a K-9 bomb detection unit and no explosives were found. All students, faculty, and staff were relocated as police searched the building. No explosives were found and an all-clear was issued at 1:17 p.m.

Norfolk State, a historically Black university, received a bomb threat earlier this year as part of a spate of threats made against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). A total of 57 schools and institutions received threats between Jan. 4 and Feb. 16. No explosive devices were found in connection to any of the threats, according to the FBI.

Officials: Threats Part of Nationwide ‘Hoax’

More than a dozen colleges and universities in Florida also received bomb threats. On Wednesday, two Eastern Florida State College campuses were evacuated as a precaution around 12:15 p.m. Both the Cocoa and Palm Bay campuses reopened an hour later after law enforcement conducted a search and found the threats to be unfounded, according to Fox 35.

The college said the FBI believes the local bomb threats are part of a nationwide series of threats that have proven to be hoaxes originating from Ethiopia.

Threats were also made Thursday morning against Keiser University in Daytona Beach, Flagler Technical College in Palm Coast, Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida State University’s Panama City campus, and Daytona State College’s New Smyrna Beach Edgewater campus, reports The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Flagler Palm Coast High School is adjacent to Flagler Technical College and was placed on lockdown during the threat. No devices were found and both schools reopened just over an hour later.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, whose agency flew a helicopter over the Edgewater campus and nearby woods to ensure it was secure, said the calls appear to be swatting incidents.

“Swatting is when people make hoax calls about an active shooter or bomb threats to draw a major response from law enforcement,” he said.

In North Central Florida, threats were made to Santa Fe College’s Alachua and Starke campuses and employees and students were forced to evacuate, according to WCJB. Florida Gateway College in Columbia County and Central Florida Ocala Campus were also evacuated. Columbia County deputies said a person called 911 to report a bomb at Florida Gateway. No bombs were found but all classes and activities were canceled.

In South Florida, City College Hollywood and two campuses at Eastern Florida State College received bomb threats on Wednesday.

Colleges in 8 Other States Received Threats

In recent weeks, colleges and in at least eight other states received bomb threats as well. On June 30, bomb threats were reported at Edgecombe Community College, Johnston Community College, Durham Technical Community College, Martin Community College, and Vance-Granville Community College — all located in North Carolina.

Hocking College, Zane State College, and Ohio University-Zanesville, all in Ohio, received bomb threats against residential halls last week. Also in Ohio, the Marietta Police Department received a call Tuesday from an out-of-state number with a man saying there was a bomb in the arts and science building at Washington State Community College.

West Virginia Northern Community College received a threat last week but no bombs were found. Also in West Virginia, on July 5, BridgeValley Community and Technical College received a threat. The school evacuated and closed its South Charleston and Montgomery campuses for the day.

In Texas, the Austin Community College District evacuated two campuses on July 7. Dallas College in Richland, the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, and Weatherford College’s Alkek Fine Arts Center also received threats. Also on July 7, a threat was made against Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana and Dodge City Community College in Kansas.

At least four Maryland college campuses received threats on July 8, including Hagerstown Community College, Wor-Wic Community College, Carroll Community College, and St. Mary’s College. That same day, a threat was made against Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

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