LSP issues statement on copycat threats following Florida school shooting
BATON ROUGE- In the wake of last week's tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, law enforcement throughout Louisiana and the nation have received multiple reports of "copycat threats."
One particular threat in Tangipahoa Parish proved to be credible, resulting in action taken by the Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office. Another student in Evangeline Parish was arrested for posting threats online.
But State Police say the majority of threats received were found to have no credible danger to public safety.
Louisiana officials are warning that the reporting of fake threats can result in serious charges, including a fine of up to $15,000 and/or fifteen years in prison.
State Police wish to encourage the public to only report substantial and credible suspicious activity. The Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division is responsible for the investigation of criminal activity, and will continue to work together with law enforcement to further their mission of protecting and serving the people of Louisiana.
The statement reads:
Although we highly encourage citizens to report suspicious activity, we want to remind them that the increased sharing of unsubstantiated threats through social media stresses the resources available to respond to and investigate these claims. In the event you or a family member receive information pertaining to a threat, please carefully assess the information. For example, if the threat were time sensitive and viewed as an imminent danger, you should immediately call 911. If there is suspicious activity that may warrant further investigation or something that does not seem right, report this information to local law enforcement.
The sharing of unsubstantiated threats through social media could add chaos and panic to our school systems and further burden the facility, staff, and student body. Threats made to our schools, churches, and public institutions will be expeditiously investigated with every available resource. People who choose to make threats against others, be they real or not, can face serious charges in Louisiana. The terrorizing law in Louisiana is a felony and states that people who intentionally communicate information of a crime of violence, which causes the public to be in sustained fear for their safety, causes the evacuation of a building, or other serious disruption to the general public can be arrested and fined up to $15,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 15 years.