Two Portsmouth juveniles, both age 16, were arrested early Thursday morning after Scioto County law enforcement officials investigated a Snapchat post threatening violence at several local schools in Portsmouth and surrounding areas.
A statement released by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office reported detectives had begun investigating the threatening post after receiving numerous calls from concerned parents who had apparently seen the post, which appeared under the name “Brie Savage.” Laced with profanity, the post threatened violence against persons who had allegedly wronged the author of the post.
The post specifically mentioned New Boston, Portsmouth, Clay, West and Waverly schools as potential targets, and stated the day of the attack would be Feb. 22 (Thursday).
“I’m coming for everyone that has ever messed with me, and anyone who gets in my was (sic) getting shot up,” the post reads in part.
The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office said that with the help of the Portsmouth and New Boston police departments, as well as the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, officials were able to trace the origin of the Snapchat post to an address on State Route 23 in Portsmouth. Officials arrived at the scene at 1:40 a.m. Thursday.
Scioto County Sheriff’s Capt. John Murphy said police arrested the two juveniles at the scene. The suspects were a boy and a girl, both age 16, according to Murphy, although the sheriff’s Facebook page originally reported what Murphy said was an incorrect age for the female suspect. The names of the individuals are being withheld because they are juveniles.
Murphy emphasized the male suspect was arrested for escaping from a foster home, and not for any charges in connection with the social media threats. The female was charged with five counts – one count for each school listed in the Snapchat post – of inducing panic, a fifth-degree felony. She also was charged with one count of making a terrorist threat, a third-degree felony.
Early Thursday morning, Murphy said both juveniles were in the custody of Ross County officials and were expected to appear in a Ross County court room later that day.
“The school’s involved with this threat will have a law enforcement presence at the schools,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini said via Facebook Thursday morning. “This is an ongoing investigation that could result in additional charges at a later date.”
Anyone with any information on the incident is invited to call Sheriff’s Det. Jodi Conkel at 740-351-1091. The sheriff’s office said all calls will remain anonymous.
“Obviously, we take all threats very seriously,” said Portsmouth Schools superintendent Scott Dutey. He added school officials contacted local law enforcement immediately upon hearing about the threats.
“They were involved from the very first,” Dutey said.
He emphasized several times that the safety of students and staff was the utmost concern of school officials. He said at no time did law enforcement recommend closing any local schools, and all Portsmouth schools were open as usual Thursday. There were no reports of schools being closed elsewhere because of the social media threats. Murphy said any closures were the call of the school districts involved. Minford schools were closed Thursday, but that was because of localized flooding.
“Safety is paramount, but we also need to educate and have children in school as well,” Dutey said.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931