WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Greenville Police Department put out a statement Monday saying they are aware of a threat posted on social media referencing a potential shooting at South Central High School.
The image that was shared, a Snapchat of a man holding a firearm, originated in South Carolina and the individual depicted in the photo was arrested by authorities in Spartanburg County late last week.
Greenville police stepped up security as a precaution.
“There will be presence here at South Central High School and actually at all city schools,” said Chief Mark Holtzman. “I’ve directed officers to be at all city schools so as parents begin to pick up their children at school, they should expect to see a uniformed police officer there, and that’s just there to add piece of mind. We’re here; this is our top priority.”
Dozens of parents show up at South Central to pick up their children.
Upon arrival, they had to stand in line and show an ID as an extra safety measure by the school district.
In the wake of the Florida shooting, parents like Richard Gainer said it is an uneasy feeling sending their kids to school.
“My daughter texts me from school and said she was OK and then I told her, ‘If you want to come home let me know,'” said Gainer. “Maybe an hour later she called me and told me to come, and so I rushed out here as soon as i could.”
The Greenville Police Department said they are working diligently to identify the person responsible for sharing the image locally.
“Unfortunately, this is something we’re going to continue to experience as a community.as a country and community,” Holtzman said. “And when it hits home, we understand it’s a big concern.”
Filing a false report of mass violence on educational property is considered a Class H Felony in the State of North Carolina.
Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb said law enforcement officials and District Attorney’s Office typically work together to determine whether charges are actually filed.
When it comes to sentencing, there are different options on the table.
“Usually, it’s about six to eight months, and it would almost always be suspended on a first offense,” Robb said. “They would get probation and everything that goes along with that: mental health treatment, community service.”
The age of the person behind the threats could also impact the punishment.
A lot of times it’s handled in juvenile court, and juvenile court is a place to be handled so that the issues are dealt with without someone ending up with a criminal history,” Robb said.
Robb said in light of recent events more people are reporting threats that appear on social media and not taking them lightly.