Roanoke Rapids police Chief Bobby Martin said it is not believed a threat of violence against Roanoke Rapids High School was generated locally.
The threat against the school came in the form of an Instagram post which said, “RRHS better be on lookout if y’all wanna live tomorrow … Tired of me white sh*#t so ima shoot da bi*#h up.”
The post had an emoji of a pistol where a period would normally be.
The threat against Roanoke Rapids High School. This photo has been altered due to objectionable language.
“From what we have found so far we think it was just shared locally,” Martin said, adding even if it wasn’t generated locally, “we wanted to make sure we took it seriously.”
The police department had several officers out at the school before its start this morning. “Any time you have something like this we take it seriously. We had officers at other schools as well. We had a game plan and are still monitoring everything.”
The Roanoke Rapids Graded School District in a post on its Facebook page said it is believed the threat against RRHS was a “copycat type threat similar to what schools have dealt with across (North Carolina) and Virginia. This kind of viral response is typical from students after media reports on a threat.”
The school system said the district “takes these matters very seriously and we investigate every report and rumor thoroughly. Therefore, we will have additional officers on our campuses today.
We stress that families speak with their students about the consequences of making these types of statements, whether they are speaking with other students or making comments on social media.”
The school system said anyone found responsible for making a threat such as this could face criminal charges.
Roanoke Rapids Interim City Manager Kelly Traynham informed department heads and city council members of the threat, saying, “In response to what is assumed to be ‘copycat threats of school violence’ to the RRGSD, police officers will have an increased presence on school campuses today. Such threats have been made across (North Carolina) and (Virginia). All threats are taken seriously for the safety of our community.”
WRAL reported Thursday that a 17-year-old high school student was charged and taken into custody in connection with social media threats of mass violence at Smithfield-Selma High School, South Johnston High School and Corinth Holders High School on Wednesday.
The TV station also reported an 18-year-old was charged this week after threats were made toward Guilford County schools and East Wake High School. That message was delivered via Snapchat.