Edelman instantly thought of the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed. In an interview earlier this week, Edelman said “…with the emotions of what happened, and I have a kid now, I said, holy Toledo, what is going on?”
Edelman wasted no time alerting his Boston-based assistant Shannen Moen, asking her to search through the hundreds of comments on his recent Instagram posts to determine if the threat was real. Moen found the alarming comment from an unidentified Instagram user on a recent picture Edelman posted alongside Amendola on March 25th:
“I’m going to shoot my school up watch the news”
Moen quickly passed along the information to Boston Police where detectives were able to trace the commenter’s IP address to Port Huron, Michigan. Boston authorities reached out to local law enforcement in Michigan, who went to the home where the threat originated. When the police arrived at the address, they found a 14-year-old boy, who, they said, admitted to posting the threat. At the home, police found two rifles that belonged to the boy’s mother.
Port Huron Police Department Capt. Joseph Platzer said the boy’s threat was aimed at the middle school the he attends in a nearby township. The boy was charged with making a false report of a threat of terrorism and taken to a juvenile-detention center.
Active Shooters Continue to Threaten School Safety
This isn't the first time social media as been looped into the conversation surrounding active shooters in schools. As you may remember, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gunman Nikolas Cruz was active on social media months prior to his deadly February 14th attack.
According to classmates, Cruz, who had a long-standing obsession with guns and referred to himself as the “annihilator”, frequently posted violent and graphic images to his now-deleted social media accounts. After the shooting, numerous law enforcement agencies took criticism for their mishandling of anonymous tips made against Cruz on the FBI’s Public Access line.
Edelman's quick action, as well as the Instagram user who initially reported the disturbing comment, highlight the responsibility we all have to speak up when we see or hear something threatening.
It's important to know what to do during an emergency. It's also equally important to know what to do to prevent an emergency from happening in the first place.
After the incident, Moen told reporters "we're lucky the Boston cops were all over it, very lucky the Michigan cops were all over it." For Edelman, he wanted to thank the Instagram user who alerted him to the threat made on his post, saying "he's the real hero."