News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2007

Big sigh at Hartselle High
16-year-old accused of making threat was on school suspension, faces charges in South Carolina

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The student who threatened mass carnage in Hartselle was suspended from school April 2, Superintendent William Michael Reed said.

His threat to "blast the (expletive deleted) brains out" of students here, came about 25 minutes after Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui had mailed his manifesto to NBC News.

Reed said the stepfather of the student, a 16-year-old male in the ninth grade, withdrew him from school Thursday.

"Classes returned to normal today," the superintendent said. "We had a good day."

A juvenile court in Pickens County, S.C., charged the suspect with communicating threatening messages by electronic means, Hartselle Police Chief Ron Puckett said.

He was charged in South Carolina because that's where he posted the threat, Puckett said.

Authorities said they don't know if the juvenile was aware of Cho's shooting at Virginia Tech before posting the message.

In a profanity-laced message, the suspect said people were going to remember his name because he was returning to Hartselle and would commit a shooting worse than the one at Columbine High School.

His threat was posted Monday on MySpace at 8:26 a.m.

In another MySpace posting to a friend, the juvenile used racial language and threatened to return to Hartselle.

He used graphic language to describe what he would do to people he did not like, including shooting some people he "hated" twice.

He encouraged his friend to remember him and to not let anyone take his place. "I shall return and Hartselle will be ours all over again."

Hartselle students notified School Resource Officer Tim Hudson about the MySpace posting Wednesday morning.

After talking with the juvenile's parents, who reside in Hartselle, investigators learned that the suspect was with relatives in South Carolina.

Puckett said the juvenile turned himself in to South Carolina authorities. After jurisdiction was determined, they charged him in juvenile court.

South Carolina authorities were not available for comment.

Reed commended the faculty and staff at Hartselle High, the Hartselle Police Department and the Morgan County Sheriff's Department for their quick response.

Within 30 minutes of learning of the MySpace posting, Hartselle school officials and law enforcement had the school secured.

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