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Anonymous threat on Yik Yak app determined to be bogus; suspect in custody
04/30/2014

(Update: 8:30 p.m. 4/30/14)

Press release from Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I)

 On 04/30/2014 members of the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I) arrested 21 year old Marvin Chijioke Ogu and charged him with Disrupting School Functions as a result of an investigation into threats made against Frostburg State University. Ogu, who is from Lanham, Maryland, is a student at FSU.

After the FSU Police were made aware of the threats being made on the web based messaging application Yik Yak, which stated that, “At 5:30 tomorrow, I’m going to start shooting”, C3I was contacted to assist in the investigation. C3I Investigators were able to make contact with the administrators at Yik Yak and obtain information on the internet provider (IP) address being used by the person responsible for issuing the threats, as well as the local address that the threats were emanating from.

 Investigators responded to that location and made contact with the residents. Further investigation led to the identification of Ogu as the person responsible. After consultation with the Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office, he was taken into custody at that time without incident.

 In addition, the residence was searched and no weapons were located, and it was determined that Ogu had no means of carrying out the threat. Ogu further advised that the threat was “made as a joke”, and he had no intention of acting on the threat.

Ogu was taken before a District Court Commissioner for an initial appearance and has been released pending further court appearances.

 

(Update: 5:45 p.m. 4/30/14)

Following an intensive, daylong investigation, Frostburg State University Police and Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I) have identified and taken into custody a suspect in the case of an anonymous threat that put the University on guard for most of today (Wednesday, April 30).

The suspect was determined to have no means of carrying out the threat. He stated it was “made as a joke, didn’t plan on anyone taking it too far.” The threat originated as a posting on the anonymous, location-based messaging app, Yik Yak, which said, “At 5:30 tomorrow, I’m going to start shooting.” Based on the timing of the post, police surmised that “tomorrow” indicated Wednesday, April 30.

Frostburg State University expresses its profound gratitude to the police agencies who stepped up to assist us in resolving this case. Jonathan Gibralter, President Frostburg State University

 

 

(Update 2:30 p.m. 4/30/14)

University Police continue to follow up leads on the anonymous threat that was posted on the Yik Yak messaging app and are working closely with the other police agencies in our area. The assessment of the low credibility of this threat in the eyes of these police agencies has not changed.

As President Gibralter said in his earlier message: If you feel your personal safety is at risk, you may choose to leave campus for the remainder of the day. Faculty members who choose to cancel classes should make sure they inform their students in advance.

We strongly encourage anyone with information to contact University Police at 301-687-4223 or the anonymous tip line, 301-687-7867 (STOP). 

(Update 12:30 p.m. 4/30/14)

Message from President Gibralter: 
I want to issue a clarification in response to questions from parents, students and others regarding the message about the anonymous, vague threat about which police have learned. Police must evaluate the credibility of threats on a regular basis. Our police agency and those agencies working in cooperation with us give this particular threat little credibility. This is for a variety of reasons, including that it was not declared to be specific to FSU. However, we decided that it was still important for the campus community to be aware and forewarned.
 
For those of you not familiar with this app, this article explains some of its features and what makes it unusual and troublesome.
http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2014/03/yik-yak-app-parents-need-to-know/

This story details some of the issues Yik Yak posts have created elsewhere:
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/03/11/seen-at-11-yik-yak-anonymous-texting-app-stirs-up-controversy/
 
In consultation with the Provost and SGA president, we offer the following message: While we do not want to allow our campus to be held hostage to anonymous, vague threats, if you feel your personal safety is at risk, you are encouraged to exercise your personal judgment about whether or not to stay on campus for the remainder of the day.  
 
Jonathan Gibralter, President
Frostburg State University



PREVIOUS MESSAGE (Posted 10:30 a.m. 4/30/14):

University Police were recently alerted to a posting on the anonymous, location-based message app known as Yik Yak. It stated: “At 5:30 tomorrow, I’m going to start shooting.”
Based on the timing of the post we believe that “tomorrow” refers to today, Wednesday, April 30.
 
No other information on this post is currently available. University Police have notified cooperating investigative agencies and are attempting to track down the source of the post. At this point, we have no additional evidence of a threat, but out of an abundance of caution we are sharing this information with the campus community.


We urge anyone who may have information on this subject to contact University Police at 301-687-4223 or you may also call the anonymous tip line at 301-687-7867 (STOP).


In the meantime, we urge you to be cautious. Please take care to be aware of your surroundings. IF YOU SEE ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS DO NOT HESITATE to call 911 or 301-687-4222, the University Police emergency line.
 

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu