Gwinnett schools investigate online threat of Columbine-style shooting

An anonymous Twitter user has threatened to “shoot up” Sweetwater Middle School.

Gwinnett County Public Schools have alerted parents to the threatening message and placed additional school resource officers at the Lawrenceville school. The district has not found any evidence to indicate the threats are credible, but are investigating the posts.

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“Whenever we hear or see threats to a school we take precautions and we take them seriously,” said Bernard Watson, a district spokesman. 

Gwinnett County police will conduct extra patrols at Sweetwater Middle School on Thursday.

Three threatening tweets were posted after 11 p.m. Wednesday. The user invoked the April 20, 1999 Columbine High School shooting; Thursday is the 18th anniversary of that event.

“We will be shooting up Sweetwater Middle School tomorrow. This is not a joke,” the user posted, tagging Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Twitter account. A later tweet said the threatened attack was planned for 2:16 p.m.

The account has only posted three tweets, all related to the threat to Sweetwater Middle School. It also retweeted two users who quoted a threatening tweet and tagged the FBI. 

Even if these posts were made as a joke or a prank, the person that wrote them will face repercussions, Watson said.

“We like to remind parents and students that sometimes kids make threats and think they won’t get caught, or think it’s a joke, but we will investigate them and there will be consequences,” Watson said.

Those consequences could include criminal charges, the Gwinnett County Police Department said.

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