Plainfield community reacts to ‘Brian Kil’ case arrest
PLAINFIELD, Ind.– A year and a half after somebody using the name “Brian Kil” posted online threats against school students and mall shoppers in the Plainfield and Danville communities, many were relieved and surprised to learn Monday that an arrest had been made in the case.
Federal, state and local authorities announced that “Brian Kil” is actually 26-year-old Buster Hernandez, of Bakersfield, California. The FBI and other agencies had tracked him down and arrested him. He never once set foot in Indiana.
“A lot of people probably thought that we’re never going to see resolution to this, that it was too complicated of a case to crack,” said Plainfield Town Manager Andrew Klinger. “It’s just great to have closure on the case finally, to know that they finally have got the guy and that they’re going to be prosecuting him.”
Klinger had just started serving as Plainfield’s Town Manager at the end of 2015 when the “Brian Kil” threats were ramping up. He remembers the day the threats prompted the closure of Plainfield High School, which he says was not an easy decision to make.
“On a personal level, my kids started school in the Plainfield system as this was happening,” Klinger said. “And so I know there was a lot of fear throughout the community at the time.”
“We’re thrilled that there’s closure on the case,” said Danville Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Tracey R. Shafer.
The cyber threats also prompted the closure of Danville High School in December 2015.
“I think we’re relieved too that there’s going to be accountability on an individual who has created this type of issue,” Shafer said.
After the school threats, further posts promising violence prompted the closure of the Shops at Perry Crossing Mall and nearby Carmike 18 Cinema. Mike Hamilton was out at the mall Monday when he learned of the arrest and charges in the case.
“Time had went by and you just figured, well, maybe he’s stopped and he’s not doing it to anybody else and they just kind of let it go,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton remembers the fear and uncertainty a year and a half ago, when nobody knew who “Brian Kil” was, or what he would actually do.
“It was right around holiday time and people were kind of freaked out to be out shopping, thinking this guy’s going to blow the place up or something,” Hamilton said. “For all you know, he’s standing right here and nobody knew. So to find out he’s all the way there (California), it’s pretty crazy.”
“It was scary,” said fellow mall shopper Brooke Smith. “I remember too when they raided a bunch of houses, and you think, ‘Oh they finally caught him,’ it’s probably some young kid who thought he wouldn’t be caught. So it kind of is surprising knowing it was someone all the way out in California.”
Plainfield Schools issued a statement, thanking the community and law enforcement.
“The months of cyberterrorism were very difficult, and yet we experienced a tremendous outpouring of support, cooperation, and assistance,” part of the statement said. “Cyber crimes are far more difficult to investigate and solve than television shows make it appear. But the cooperation of countless public safety agencies has resulted in an arrest, and we are incredibly grateful.”
Klinger also says he’s thankful for the investigators who stayed after the case long after it had faded from the headlines.
“But I do think that for the community, a lot of folks have already moved on,” Klinger said. “I think there will probably be a lot of relief that this guy is off the streets now.”
Plainfield school officials also say heightened security measures prompted by the cyber threats have remained in place and will continue to.