Chicago police have a person in custody after multiple threats were made against Chicago schools, including Simeon Career Academy, where two students were killed in shootings hours apart Tuesday, police said.
The threats, made against several schools, related to gun violence and were predominantly made on social media, Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference Thursday. None was deemed credible.
They began with an old social media post from another state that was reposted in Chicago, he said. The person who is accused of reposting the old post, and of continuing to post a “pretty prolific number of threats,” is in police custody, Brown said.
The person, an adult from the south suburbs, is on electronic monitoring for similar activity in a nearby city, Brown said. Police are interviewing the person, and are hoping to bring “the highest possible charge that’s appropriate for the behavior.”
The threats went out shortly after two 15-year-old students at Simeon were killed in shootings hours apart, police said.
Just after classes let out about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, Jamari Williams was standing not far from the school in the West Chatham neighborhood with friends when two people fired at him, according to Chicago police.
Later that evening, about 6:30 p.m., Kentrell McNeal was shot and killed while in a vehicle in the Hyde Park neighborhood, police said. A 14-year-old boy was also injured.
McNeal was at a gas station with friends, pumping gas, when they saw another group of people around a nearby McDonalds, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said Thursday. The two groups stared at each other, and when McNeal’s group tried to flee in a car, a member of the other group opened fire, he said.
Deenihan said they have “some promising leads” about McNeal’s death but asked for tips from the public about both shootings.
Following the threats, Chicago police provided extra presence at schools, especially at dismissal, said Jadine Chou, Chicago Public Schools’ chief of safety and security.
“I want to remind everybody threats like these are crimes,” she said.
Chou asked families to encourage children to report anything suspicious to adults or teachers.
Chicago police believe schools could receive additional threats from copycats, Deputy Chief Larry Snelling said, and will continue to assess school safety plans.