2 MS students arrested after social media threat

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - Two students were arrested after a shooting threat was made at Center Hill High School, according to DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco.

Two 16-year-old boys are now in juvenile custody in Desoto County. The names of the two boys have not been released.

Sheriff Rasco said they could face felony cyberstalking charges after making a social media threat. He even suggested that the pair could be tried as adults.

Authorities were made aware of the threat Thursday. The threats were made through Snapchat. They include a picture of a rifle with words threatening to burn down "them brown houses" and promising that "the KKKlan will rise again."

"All it is, is somebody putting some stupid stuff on social media, and it's going to cause them problems for the rest of their lives," Rasco said.

Rasco said Center Hill High School will have extra patrols on campus Tuesday when kids return to classes.

"We're going to nip this in the bud," Rasco said. "I just want them kids to know we're watching you. We're going to have someone to monitor their Facebook page, social media aspect whatever they do on social media."

There will also be extra deputies next door at Center Hill Middle School after reports of a possible threat made there last week. However, the sheriff's office found no credible evidence of any threat at the middle school.

"I just want to the parents to realize that we are on top of it," Rasco said.

"We have got to take social media threats seriously; we investigate these," DeSoto County Superintendent Cory Uselton said.

Desoto County Schools notified parents at Center Hill middle and high schools last week. Parents said the threats were particularly concerning since they came shortly after 17 students were killed in a school shooting in Florida.

"This day and age you have to pay attention to what's said online because too many children are dying in our schools," DeSoto County resident Karen Moore said.

"If any student makes any kind of statement that's threatening to our students and staff, we're going to seek the most punishment as we possibly can and we're going to turn the case over to law enforcement," Uselton said.

The Center Hill students responsible for the threats are due in court Thursday, Feb. 22.

"Students can't joke around on social media when it comes to school safety," Uselton said. "We don't wait around; when we get this type of thing, it goes to the top of our priority list."

The teens were not the only teens arrested over the weekend for making a social media threat.

In Memphis, police arrested a 17-year-old boy last Thursday for allegedly making a Facebook threat against his school. He attends Northwest Prep Academy on Poplar Avenue.

A spokesperson for Memphis Police Department said the department takes threats of violence seriously, and once made aware, the department investigates to ensure safety.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.