Man arrested in Detroit for school shooting threat
Detroit police have arrested a 26-year-old man who allegedly threatened on social media to carry out a mass shooting at an undisclosed school.
The suspect, who is white, also claimed to be a black man in his Facebook posts, and expressed the desire to “kill all white people” while posting from a computer in his Detroit workplace, police Chief James Craig said.
Craig said a citizen who saw the post Tuesday notified public information officer Dan Donakowski, who quickly alerted investigators. The man was arrested within hours, Craig said.
“We relentlessly investigated this threat, because we take these things very seriously, particularly now, in light of the incident in Florida,” Craig said, referring to the Feb. 14 killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland by ex-student Nikolas Cruz.
In that case, citizens alerted authorities that Cruz was making online threats, but the FBI admitted that agents operating the Public Access Line where the tip was reported failed to inform the Miami field office.
Craig said it’s crucial to follow up on such tips.
“Somebody saw something and said something; the department responded, and it resulted in an arrest,” Craig said. He said officers Wednesday were putting together a warrant request seeking charges of making a terrorist threat, which carries up to 20 years in prison.
“We will submit that to prosecutors, who will make a determination of whether to bring charges,” Craig said, adding he expects the warrant request to be forwarded to Wayne County prosecutors within 48 hours.
The threat was made in a Facebook thread about breastfeeding, Craig said.
“This suspect stated that he supports mass shootings and wanted to shoot kids in school,” Craig said. “A woman wrote something about breastfeeding, and he wrote back, ‘I’ll shoot up your kids and shoot up your school.’
“He had other social media posts,” Craig said. “He wrote, ‘I want to kill all white people’ and said he was a black man, but he’s actually a white man.
“The guy in Florida (Cruz) started that way — making statements online about wanting to be a school shooter,” Craig said. “Well, we’re not going to wait around for him to do it, so we acted fast and got him into custody.”
In a similar case, 41-year-old Nheru Littleton pleaded guilty this month to one count of making a terrorist threat after he wrote on Facebook: “F them racist a__ cops!!! Kill them ALL. Black Lives Matter. Black people should start killing all white cops just like they are killing us ... white people will be dropping like flies!!!”
After Detroit police arrested Littleton in July 2016, they submitted a warrant request seeking charges of making a terrorist threat. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to bring the charges, however, blaming “substandard” police work and lack of evidence.
Two months later, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced he would charge Littleton with making a terrorist threat. Littleton's defense team attempted to get the charges dismissed at a March 2017 hearing before Wayne Circuit Judge Vonda Evans. Evans did not dismiss the charges.
With his trial set to begin on June 5, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered a stay in the proceedings, although the stay was overturned in November.
Littleton pleaded guilty Feb. 7. Evans is scheduled to sentence him April 10.