Online threats made by Uvalde shooter went unreported to parents and were dismissed as harmless: 'kids joke around like that'

·2 min read
Law enforcement officers guard the scene of a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Law enforcement officers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.Marco Bello/Reuters
  • The gunman who killed 21 in a Texas elementary school threatened people he spoke to online.

  • The threats were brushed off by recipients as harmless and were not reported to parents or police.

  • One researcher said threats to girls and women, who are frequently harassed online, "wouldn't even register."

The gunman who killed 21 during a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday frequently threatened people he spoke to online, but the threats were never reported to parents or authorities, The Washington Post reported.

Users who interacted with the 18-year-old shooter on the social networking apps Yubo and Instagram say he would post images of dead cats and joke about sexual assault in addition to making threats.

"I witnessed him harass girls and threaten them with sexual assault, like rape and kidnapping," a 16-year old Yubo user who interacted with the shooter told The Washington Post. "It was not like a single occurrence. It was frequent."

One researcher suggested that threats sent to girls and women, who are frequently harassed online, wouldn't cause unusual alarm because it is such a common occurrence.

"When someone says something violent to you or makes some sort of death threat to you, for many women that happens so often that it wouldn't even register with them," Whitney Phillips, a researcher and new faculty member of the University of Oregon told The Washington Post.

At least one girl who interacted with the gunman online said he had told another Yubo user "shut up before I shoot you," but she told The Washington Post she brushed it off because "kids joke around like that."

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