A third Missouri teen has been accused of making a terroristic threat on the social media app Yik Yak against a college campus, police say.
Tyler Bradenberg, 19, of St. Louis County, was charged Thursday with a felony count of making a terroristic threat, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. He is accused of threatening to “shoot up” Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, where he was a chemical engineering student last fall.
Several threats were reported Tuesday after they were posted on Yik Yak. The app allows for anonymous posting and is based on geography, meaning you can only make posts to others in the area where you are. Although the posts are anonymous, they can be tracked.
The threats were made during a night of fear for black students at University of Missouri’s Columbia campus, where several threats were seen on social media, including YikYak. Tensions were high on the Mizzou campus after students protested against the administration for its handling of several racist incidents, leading to the resignation of the university system’s president after a hunger strike by a graduate student and a boycott by black members of the football team.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say Bradenberg Admitted to Making the Threat
Police said the threat was made at 11:59 a.m. The full message said, “I’m gonna shoot up this school.”
Bradenberg, a graduate of Oakville High School, admitted he made the threat when questioned by police, according to court documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Missouri University of Science & Technology said in court documents police “began receiving numerous telephone calls from panicked and concerned students regarding their safety and welfare,” after the message was posted to Yik Yak. The university also sent out a campus wide alert.
According to the Kansas City Star, the university said technology was used to make it appear the threat was made from campus.
Bradenberg was located at his home in St. Louis County by agents from the FBI and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. He was charged by the Rolla Police Department.
A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday, but it is not clear if he is in custody.
2. His Father Says He Made the Post Without Thinking & the Charge Is ‘Absurd’
Paul Bradenberg, Tyler’s father, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he believes his son copied a message someone else wrote and posted it on Yik Yak. The elder Bradenberg told the newspaper his son didn’t want to hurt anyone and doesn’t own guns.
“Yik Yak is basically a bathroom stall,” Paul Bradenberg said. “It’s a misunderstanding. He’s a smart kid and he just texted something in a split second without thinking of what he is doing, and he deleted it immediately,” Paul Bradenberg said. “And now he’s being charged with a felony. It’s absurd. It’s a complete empty threat and they’ve taken it too far.”
3. Another Teen Said He Was Going to ‘Shoot Any Black People’ in a Yik Yak Post, Police Say
Connor Stottlemyre, 19, a freshman at Northwest Missouri State University, was charged Wednesday morning after allegedly posting a threat on Yik Yak, an app that allows users to post anonymously,the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Stottlemyre is accused of posting on Yik Yak,”I’m gonna shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready,” a Northwest Missouri State University spokesman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He remains in custody.
Read more about Stottlemyre at the link below:
4. A Third Teen Allegedly Threatened to ‘Shoot Every Black Person’
Hunter Park, a 19-year-old student at Missouri University of Science and Technology, the same school Bradenberg briefly attended, was also charged Wednesday. He has been held without bail.
One of the threats he is accused of making read, “I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see.”
Read more about Park at the link below:
5. Yik Yak Says the Threats Are ‘Completely Unacceptable’
Police say they are continuing to investigate the threats made against black students in recent days.
Yik Yak, the company whose app was where multiple threats were made, posted a statement Wednesday on its website saying:
Just like the rest of you, we’ve been following the recent events at University of Missouri and we’ve felt a mix of inspiration, disappointment, hope, and sadness at what the Mizzou community has been going through. Ultimately, we’ve been impressed by the strength of the student body during an extremely tough time.
It’s our hope that the range of discussion on MU’s campus can help to bring about positive resolution and a better understanding within the community. But there’s a point where discussion can go too far – and the threats that were posted on Yik Yak last night were both upsetting and completely unacceptable. Let’s not waste any words here: This sort of misbehavior is NOT what Yik Yak is to be used for. Period. It is not condoned by Yik Yak, and it violates our Terms of Service.