After a violent event, people often ask whether there had been any warning signs. That helps them try to make sense out of something that will never really make sense. Then, there are times when the individual gives others plenty of warning signs, yet nothing is done. That is what happened in this case — at first.
A 16-year-old boy at Cardinal Newman School in Columbia, South Carolina was charged with “Student Threats” after officials found videos of him making racial and violent threats. Those videos have gone viral, according to Columbia ABC.
This is the video the student made.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) reported that the teenager had been taken to a local juvenile detention center on July 17, 2019. Since the student was a minor, the courts could not release any information about the case.
Cardinal Newman Principal Robert Loia recently wrote a letter to school parents to give them a timeline about how events unfolded.
The parent of one of the students contacted school officials on July 13. This parent said she had been forwarded a “graphic and racist” video that the teen in question had made. The 16-year-old recorded himself shooting a Jordan’s brand shoe box and saying:
‘(This) is the favorite pair of shoes for a black man.’
The videos showed the teen using both an automatic rifle and a shotgun. At that point, the school contacted the sheriff’s department. School officials were told that a racist video was not a criminal activity. The school, however, continued with its investigation.
Then on July 15, school officials met with the teenager’s parents. They told them that the student’s “threatening and violent racist behavior” was such that they had no choice but to expel him. The student’s parents decided to withdraw him from school instead. That was when they were told, their child was also banned from school property.
The parent who originally discovered the teen’s video found a second video online July 17. In this video, the kid threatened to “shoot up” his former school. The school contacted the sheriff’s department once again.
The police had enough evidence for criminal activity and arrested the student that night. RCSD officials filed an incident report, ABC Columbia reported:
‘…officials detail both the initial viral video and the video where the teen threatened to shoot up the school. The second video is dated May 11, 2019.’
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said:
‘It was brought to our attention that videos were being distributed among students. We worked very closely with the school to identify the students involved.
‘It was brought to our attention that videos were being distributed among students. We worked very closely with the school to identify the students involved. We take all threats seriously. This is an example of how schools and law enforcement can work together to quickly address threats and perceived threats to schools and students.”
After local attorney Annabelle Robertson’s daughter showed her the video, the attorney shared the racial video on Twitter, and it went viral. She explained why she shared it:
‘This young man is so clearly filled with so much hate that he feels the freedom to share this publicly, in a video. I believe that he poses a clear and present danger, and a true threat to other students and other people.’
Parents were first informed of the student and his threats in a letter on August 2nd. In the meantime, Twitter removed the video. However, others have continued to share it.
Loia said that the parents had been concerned that they did know about these credible threats earlier. He said the teen was arrested, which negated the threat. He also noted that in an ongoing Sheriff Department investigation, the facts he could release were limited.
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