Two suspects who allegedly made threats against black students on social media have been taken into custody by the police.
Connor Stottlemyre, a 19-year-old student at the Northwest Missouri State University, was taken into custody on suspicion of making a terrorist threat on the social media app, Yik Yak, where he wrote, “I’m going to shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready,” according to university spokesman, Mark Hornickel. According to USA Today, students and faculty were notified about the threat at 8:30 a.m. Stottlemyre was subsequently taking in at 11 a.m. from his dormitory on the Maryville campus.
The other suspect, identified by the police as 19-year-old sophomore Hunter Park, is a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology. According to NBC News, Park was arrested at 1:50 a.m. at a residence hall in Rolla, which is around 100 miles south of the flagship campus in Columbia. Charges of making a threat on social media were also brought against Park. Subsequent to his arrest, he was transported to the Boone County Jail in Columbia, and a bond for $4,500 has been set.
The university said that no weapons were found while the investigation was being conducted. Missouri S&T Chancellor, Cheryl B. Schrader, said, “Threats of violence of any kind are not tolerated. As a campus, we are grateful that this situation did not escalate. I thank both of the police departments for their swift action in handling this case.” The university wrote on its website that the accused was not on or near the campus when the threat was issued.
Hank Foley, incoming interim chancellor, said the university “must not lose perspective during this critical time.” He further added, “I know that some of our students, staff and faculty are feeling insecure. I want to assure them that as we move forward toward a brighter future we are here, standing together and working hard not only to assure their safety but also to assure that every member of our Mizzou family is getting the individual help they need to make the most of the opportunities offered here.”
Garnett Stokes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, praised students and expressed support. “We want to support them while continuing to assure an atmosphere of security and opportunity for all. This can be a wonderful learning experience; we must treat each other with respect. We can and will look beyond our differences and heal the wounds that some have experienced.”
Black students at the Columbia campus have claimed to be subjected to racial abuse, something that triggered demonstrations and protests on campus. A swastika drawn with human feces was found on a dormitory wall on October 24. With cases of racial abuse on campus taking a toll, the president of the university system, Tim Wolfe, was accused for not taking appropriate action. He resigned from his post after black players of the University of Missouri’s football team said they would neither participate in meetings nor play in games until Wolfe stepped down.