Bomb threats

Six ‘Tech Savvy' Minors ID'd as Persons of Interest in HBCU Bomb Threats

Howard University was among more than a dozen historically Black colleges and universities targeted by bomb threats Tuesday

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What to Know

  • Federal officials have identified six persons of interest in bomb threats that targeted historically Black colleges and universities throughout the United States.
  • Howard University was ordered to shelter in place early Tuesday due to a bomb threat. D.C. police later gave the "all clear" for the campus.
  • Morgan State University canceled in-person classes Tuesday and police investigated threats to the University of the District of Columbia.

The FBI has identified six "tech savvy" juveniles as persons of interests in threats to historically Black colleges and universities on Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month.

Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, were among the schools that received threats. They came just a day after a rash of bomb threats to HBCUs in the United States.

A law enforcement official said the FBI has identified six persons of interest around the country, all juveniles, who are suspected of making the threats. The official said they appear to be “tech savvy,” using sophisticated methods to try to disguise the source of the threats, which appear to have a racist motivation.

Bowie State University and Howard University are among at least six historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States targeted by bomb threats Monday. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports.

The bomb threat was made about 2:55 a.m. Tuesday, Howard University said.

“A bomb threat against the university is being investigated. All persons on campus are advised to shelter in place until more information is available,” an alert from the university said. Further details on the alleged bomb threat were not immediately available.

A short time later, D.C. police and university police investigated a bomb threat to UDC's campus in the Van Ness neighborhood, the school said. Officers shut down streets including the 4200 block of Connecticut Avenue NW and part of Van Ness Street NW, but the campus was opened after the investigation didn't find anything.

Morgan State University canceled in-person classes due to the threat.

“Access to campus will be closed as the University works with emergency personnel to assess the situation. Everyone on campus should shelter in place until further notice,” Morgan State officials said.

Coppin State University, also in Baltimore, also moved classes online Tuesday due to "a campus emergency," the school said.

Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Florida, and Fort Valley State University in Georgia were among more than a dozen HBCU campuses threatened nationwide, NBC News reported.

Howard University and Bowie State University in Maryland were among at least six HBCUs were targeted by bomb threats Monday. Bowie State students were preparing to return to campus Tuesday after officials moved classes online due to the threat on Monday.

Howard University said in a letter to the community that several HBCUs have been subject to threats in recent weeks. The school says it coordinates with D.C. police and federal agencies to investigate threats.

Feds Looking into Bomb Threats to HBCUs

The bomb threats Monday prompted a federal response. The FBI “is aware of bomb threats received by some Historically Black Colleges and Universities," the agency said in a statement. “The FBI takes all potential threats seriously, and we regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine their credibility."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the threats on Monday and was working with local law enforcement to continue investigating, Acting Deputy Director Thomas Chittum said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the threats "are certainly disturbing, and the White House is in touch with the interagency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership on this.“

“We’re relieved to hear that Howard and Bethune-Cookman universities have been given the all-clear, and will continue to monitor these reports," Psaki said. “The president is aware — I don’t believe he’s received the formal briefing — but he is aware of these reports.”

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