Police arrest juvenile suspect in connection with Instagram threat directed at middle school in Martinsville

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MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (Sept. 9, 2015) – Martinsville police said extra officers will be patrolling a Martinsville middle school this week after a threat was discovered on social media Wednesday.

Police said someone threatened to "blow up" Bell-East Middle School on September 11. A juvenile suspect was arrested Wednesday evening.

An audio message sent to parents can be heard below:

“It’s an Instagram threat of a bombing on 9-11,” said Martinsville police chief Rodger Wiltermood. The threat did not target any specific student, but rather the entire school. Police say the bottom line is they can never be too careful.

“We have to treat it as legitimate,” said Wiltermood. “It’s a general threat, but we’re taking it seriously and we’re investigating it.”

The threat did not affect today’s classes.

Steve Long grew up in Martinsville and died on September 11, 2001. Long had been in a meeting at the Pentagon when a hijacked plane struck.

“He was in the exact section that got hit,” said George Long, Steve's father.

He said he’ll never forget the pain of losing his son.

“At the time I wished it had been me. I would have traded my life for his,” said Long.

A war memorial in Martinsville honors the lives lost following the tragedy of 9/11. Long wishes the younger generation would remember the importance of the event and not make idle threats about a painful day in American history.

“It’s a sacred day, at least it should be, absolutely,” said Long.

The school is sending a letter to all parents with the following information:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We want to make you aware that Martinsville Police and Indiana State Police are investigating a post that appeared on Bell- East Middle School’s Instagram account late Tuesday. MSD of Martinsville school officials immediately notified authorities after spotting a threatening message during routine monitoring. The District continues to cooperate with law enforcement, and we will keep parents, staff and students informed as we learn more.

We are consulting with authorities to find out whether it is appropriate to reveal details of the message, as part of their ongoing investigation. We can say that the threat is not directed at any particular person. All inquiries or information should be directed to Sgt. Brian Chambers of Martinsville Police at 765-342-6614.

We are aware and take all threats seriously, and rely on law enforcement to verify the validity of the threat. At Martinsville Schools, the safety and security of our students is our Number 1 priority--it always has been and always will be.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michele Moore
Superintendent

 

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