PD: 'Clown' threat on Facebook led to school threat rumors in Greeley-Evans School District

Posted at 5:44 AM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 19:49:04-04

GREELEY, Colo. -- Greeley police say a Facebook threat involving clowns escalated into a viral situation that included school threats.

Dispatchers received calls Monday afternoon about a "Facebook posting that claimed shootings would be carried out in the area of Island Grove Park in Greeley on H

alloween night," according to Greeley Police spokesman Sgt Joe Tymkowych.

"This was posted and forwarded numerous times and evolved into an almost viral event, deviating from the original claim to several other claims of shootings at schools by clowns and more," Tymkowych explained.

As the situation escalated, Greeley police posted a message on Facebook.

The Greeley-Evans School District also posted on Facebook Monday night.

Some of you have seen social media posts about potential threats at two Distrcct [sic] 6 schools tomorrow. Please know that we and the Greeley Police do not believe this is a credible threat. We are working closely with police at this time to ensure every school and every student is safe, but again, we do not believe this is a credible threat.

Greeley police dispatchers said they received multiple calls about clowns overnight.

Greeley Schools posted a second message on Facebook about the clowns and two specific schools.

"The threats being circulated on social media about Franklin and Northridge are similar to a national phenomena involving clowns," Greeley-Evans Schools wrote on Facebook. "Again, we are working very closely with Greeley Police on this. We will have a safety plan in place for schools tomorrow, including additional vigilance and security. While we understand this can't and won't alleviate all fears and concerns, we are working very dilligently [sic] to idenify [sic] the source of this social media activity."

Greeley police said a detective investigating the original messages and the derivations said a possible source could be a 15-year-old who forwarded a message received on Facebook.

"The investigation continues into the origin of the Facebook posting," Tymkowych said.

The Weld County District Attorney warned that anyone making this kind of threat can face charges of interference and if convicted, get jail time of up to 18 months.

"Parents, please talk to your teenagers about this problem,” District Attorney Michael Rourke said in a statement sent to Denver7. "They must realize this isn’t a harmless joke. This ‘joke’ heightened fears in students, parents and school officials. We won’t tolerate people terrorizing our community, and we will charge them where we see fit."

As for Greeley Schools Tuesday, Tymkowych said detectives, School Resource Officers and patrol officers are covering schools.

MORE | Fake viral Facebook post claims creepy clowns invade Denver.


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