FBI Identifies 6 Persons of Interest in Black Colleges Bomb Threats (Kim Britten/Dreamstime)
By Nicole Wells | Wednesday, 02 February 2022 05:08 PM
The FBI has identified six "tech savvy" juveniles as persons of interest in threats to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) across the United States, NBC News reported Wednesday.
A law enforcement official told NBC the juveniles appear to be using sophisticated methods to try to disguise the source of the threats, which appear to have a racist motivation.
The FBI said it has not found any explosive devices, following two days of bomb threats that led HBCUs to cancel classes and issue shelter-in-place orders.
The agency also said its Joint Terrorism Task Forces are leading the ongoing investigation and the threats are being investigated as "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes."
"Although at this time no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations, the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness, and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats," the agency said in a statement. "This investigation is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country."
Thirteen HBCUs marked the first day of Black History Month Tuesday by locking down their campuses due to bomb threats, the second day this week and the third in the past month that Black learning institutions received such threats.
Six similar threats were made Monday, Newsweek reported, prompting the FBI's involvement.
Authorities identified the schools targeted Tuesday as Howard University, Alcorn State University, Coppin State University, Edward Waters University, Fort Valley State University, The University of the District of Columbia, Morgan State University, Kentucky State University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Mississippi Valley State University, Jackson State University, Philander Smith College, and Arkansas Baptist College.
Reuters reported that those receiving threats Monday were Albany State University, Delaware State University, Southern University and A&M College, Howard University, Bowie State University, and Bethune-Cookman University.
Howard University is the only school that has been targeted in each wave, according to Newsweek, including one at the beginning of last month.
Ashleigh Fields, 21, the editor in chief of Howard's student newspaper, The Hilltop, told NBC on Wednesday that bomb threats are common in the area.
"As a student, it just reminds you to be aware and definitely be cautious of your surroundings," Fields said.
"It's unfortunate," she added. "I hope things get explained to us as students as well, too, because that is pretty scary to hear."