Reward offered for information in Parrish Community High School Threat
PARRISH, Fla. (WWSB) - A bomb threat against Parrish Community High School Tuesday morning prompted an hourslong evacuation, school officials said. Now, Manatee County Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to a suspect in the investigation. It’s the fourth bomb threat the school has received following lockdowns related to medical emergencies that caused chaos.
There was a complete evacuation at the school due to the threats. Students were taken to the school’s football field to await multiple agencies to clear the building. Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said that the threats do not appear credible but must be treated as if they were.
“Every threat that has been made, has been anonymous,” Saunders explained.
Multiple agencies, including Hillsborough County, responded to clear the campus. In an interview with ABC7, Sheriff Rick Wells said they brought dogs into the school and evacuated students because one threat had a specific time mentioned involving an explosion.
“This person will be facing a second-degree felony,” said Wells.
Four threats were reported via the FortifyFL app and the suspects used a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to forge IP addresses. They have a subpoena out for a California IP address and are consulting the FBI for an IP address in Romania.
A video provided to ABC7 shows students sitting in the football stadium bleachers. The school had planned to bus students from Parrish to the Manatee County Fairgrounds for parent pickup, but those plans were later canceled.
Students were eventually allowed back in their classrooms; the school day ended normally, on time. “We apologize for the changes in plans throughout the day, but every action has been taken in the interest of student and staff safety,” parents were told in an email.
Sheriff Rick Wells said in a press conference that they have traced some of the threats to an IP address in Romania and California.
“When we find those responsible, we are going to put them in jail. They are going to be charged with a felony, and that felony is going to stay with them for the rest of their life. I am asking that anyone that has any information about these threats, please contact the Sheriff’s Office, the School Board, or Crime Stoppers, but we need to put an end to this today,” said Sheriff Rick Wells. Crime Stoppers of Manatee County, Inc. is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest related to these threats. To remain anonymous and be eligible for this reward, contact Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS or submit a tip at manateecrimestoppers.com.
In a letter to parents and families, school officials said the anonymous threat was received on the school’s FortifyFL app. “As always, the school will be working with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and district security on responding to this anonymous threat,” the notice said.
This comes on the heels of a threat Feb. 6 and two recent previous lockdowns caused by medical emergencies at the school, sparking rumor and chaos among students and guardians.
The entire text of the message:
Parents and Families,
An anonymous bomb threat was posted on the FortifyFL app this morning involving Parrish Community High. As always, the school will be working with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and district security on responding to this anonymous threat. In doing so, they will follow all proper procedures and protocols related to bomb threats.
Please do not come to the campus at this time as law enforcement will need the time and space to investigate. We will update you on what is taking place.
Please warn your students that anyone involved in making threats against schools will be subject to serious criminal and school district consequences. Thank you.
The school sent out a letter saying they are continuing to get tips to the FortifyFL app.
“Tonight, we are continuing to receive anonymous tips on the Fortify Florida app in regards to different types of threats to our school. At this time we are encouraging any person who has information regarding these threats, and has been reporting them to us using the Fortify Florida app, to also reach directly out to law enforcement with the details. As you know we are working with law enforcement to find the originator of the threats being posted on Fortify. At this time, the most helpful way to report any details or information is to contact law enforcement directly. Thank you for your continued patience and support.”
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