A British man was arrested on Saturday morning after he allegedly threatened to murder 200 children in the US. The suspect reportedly made these threatening statements on Facebook last Wednesday.
Authorities explained that 24-year-old South Tyneside resident Reece Elliott made threatening comments on a Facebook memorial for a Tennessee girl who died in a car accident. According to BBC News, approximately 2,900 students were kept home from school on Thursday.
The Northumbria Police Department is currently working with authorities in the United States to determine how the case should be handled. Elliott, who is being charged with malicious communication, is still in police custody as of this writing.
The Associated Press reports that it’s unclear why Elliott decided to make the statements on the girl’s memorial Facebook page. Police explained that the suspect’s comments included threats of gun violence.
Elliot allegedly wrote:
“My father has three guns. I’m planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster. Then I’m taking the motor and going in fast. I’m gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself.”
Officers were stationed outside of schools in McMinnville after the Facebook posts were made. Although many children were kept home on Thursdays, other schools decided to tighten security.
According to the Daily Mail, Warren County Schools director Bobby Cox assured parents that steps were being taken to ensure the safety of the students.
“We received notice of violent threats directed at Warren County High School late Wednesday evening. We put an action plan together with the local authorities to ensure the safety of our schools and our campuses across the system.
“We wanted to make sure that we had all the facts before we sent a mass message out via our calling system to you. Currently the Sheriff’s Department is working with the TBI and Homeland Security to trace down the person who posted the message. In the world we live in we can never be too cautious and must take all threats seriously.”
An investigation into why the British man decided to threaten hundreds of US children is currently underway.