The menacing online poster who threatened to shoot up Arizona State University with an assault rifle Monday is a 12-year-old boy in Canada, law enforcement officials announced today.
The boy has “apologized for his actions and the disruption they caused,” according to an ASU police statement. He has been contacted by Canadian authorities, but no charges have been filed.
In his message, posted on the image-sharing website 4chan on Sunday, the boy vowed to set his rifle sights on “filthy degenerate normies,” “all of the girls who laugh at me calling me a creep,” and “all of the frat boys who get all the girls.”
He’d planned the attack for 12:30 p.m. Monday, he wrote. He’d be packing a Bushmaster M4 Carbine.
“They will all pay for alienating me,” he wrote.
ASU police, who recruited the help of the Tempe Police Department and the FBI, alerted students to the threat two hours before the announced attack time via Twitter and Facebook, saying it did “not appear credible.”
But, while the announcement was intended to reassure students, panic ensued. Some teachers canceled class, students said. Others told students they could go home if they didn’t feel safe. Many students refused to leave buildings.
Critics called the university out for failing to use its emergency text-message alert system to keep students updated.
“Not everyone can or does check Twitter or Facebook all the time,” ASU student Christina Villa wrote in a Facebook post. “Everyone does receive texts, though, even if it’s a glance at your screen.”
ASU regularly sends students text alerts about bees and gas leaks, she argued. How could it stay silent about a possible shooter?
“What if it had turned out to be credible after all?” she wrote, adding that many people have “lost trust in ASU’s ability to keep them safe” because of its poor communication.
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ASU police, in a statement, maintained that they would have used “appropriate channels” to tell student, faculty, and staff what to do had the threat been “substantiated.”
“ASU PD takes the safety of the ASU and surrounding communities very seriously,” the agency stated. “If you see something, say something. Never be afraid to email or call ASU PD to report suspicious activity.”