The FBI announced it has identified six “tech savvy” juveniles as persons of interest in the recent string of bomb threats that were sent to multiple historically Black colleges and universities. Officials said the incidents appear to be racially motivated.
On February 1 – which was the first day of Black History Month – bombs threats were sent to more than twelve historically Black colleges and universities, NBC News reported. The FBI, through investigations, ultimately identified six juveniles as persons of interest. The suspects were said to be in different locations across the United States.
An official also said the juveniles sending the threats appear to be “tech savvy”, adding that they’re employing sophisticated techniques in an attempt to conceal where the threats are coming from. The official said the threats seem to be racially motivated.
In the wee hours of Tuesday, Howard University issued a shelter-in-place after the institution received a bomb threat. Similar threats were also sent to multiple HBCUs the day prior.
“A bomb threat against the university is being investigated,” the alert from Howard said, per NBC Washington. “All persons on campus are advised to shelter in place until more information is available.” A subsequent investigation into the threat determined the campus was safe, and an all-clear was issued.
Besides Howard, other HBCUs that announced they had received bomb threats included: University of the District of Columbia, Morgan State University and Coppin State University in Baltimore, Fort Valley State University (Georgia), Kentucky State University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Edward Waters University (Florida), Alcorn State University (Mississippi), Mississippi Valley State University, Rust College (Mississippi), Spelman College (Atlanta), Jackson State University (Mississippi) and Tougaloo College – which is also in Mississippi.
After receiving the threats, Kentucky State, Jackson State, the University of the District of Columbia, Tougaloo College, and Coppin State also similarly sent out “all-clear” alerts after investigations established the threats were unfounded.
These recent incidents come after eight HBCUs received similar threats on January 5, NBC News reported. And following the recent string of threats, the FBI released a statement on Monday and Tuesday to announce it was launching an investigation.
“The FBI is aware of the series of bomb threats around the country and we are working with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats,” the FBI said. “As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.”
Ashleigh Fields, a Howard University student who spoke to the news outlet, said bombs threats in the area are nothing new. “As a student, it just reminds you to be aware and definitely be cautious of your surroundings,” Fields said, adding that she hopes authorities leave no stone unturned during investigations.
“It’s unfortunate,” she said. “I hope things get explained to us as students as well, too, because that is pretty scary to hear.”