17-year-old taken into custody after threats of ‘mass violence’ at Johnston schools

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A Johnston County teenager is in custody after social media threats of “mass violence” at local high schools, officials said Thursday.

The 17-year-old is accused of posting threats against Corinth Holders High, Smithfield Selma High and South Johnston High, according to a Johnston County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Officials said Wednesday the threats were not credible.

The teenager, a high school student whom authorities did not identify, was taken into secured custody Wednesday afternoon and is being held in a juvenile detention facility in Raleigh.

The news comes after East Wake High in Wendell was locked down Tuesday, when a student informed the school about a threat posted on social media.

Just one day later, multiple schools in Wake and Johnston counties were the victims of copycat false threats, The New & Observer reported.

In Johnston, Princeton Middle/High also faced threats. In Wake, at least six schools received social media threats.

Those threats, which authorities determined were also not credible, caused lockdowns and disrupted school operations.

“We continue to see, much too often, disruptions in our classrooms, including social media threats of violence,” Sheriff Steve Bizzell said in the news release. “Students, school staff, parents and grandparents, law enforcement, and our communities as a whole, are tired of seeing our students being fearful in an environment where they should feel safe to learn.”

Bizzell said the office would continue to “track down these individuals... and hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Staff writer Keung Hui contributed to this story.

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