Oklahoma State student arrested for making ‘threats of mass violence’
STILLWATER, Okla. – An OSU student has been arrested after ‘threats of mass violence’ were made on social media over the weekend.
The Oklahoma State Police Department arrested Kyron Birdine, 18,Tuesday afternoon on a state charge of making a terrorism hoax.
That’s a felony charge carrying up to 10 years in prison, according to a report by OSU’s O’COLLY newspaper.
Police say Birdine made threats about a school shooting on the popular social media app, Yik Yak.
Another OSU student reported the posts to the police.
With that student’s help, police gathered a series of five screenshots warning students of a shooting this Friday, April 24.
At 4:55 p.m. Sunday Birdine reportedly posted a yak stating, “School shooting on campus this Friday. You have been warned.”
The last yak, posted about 10 minutes later, warned, “Friday. Stay inside if you value your life. It will be a day of retribution.”
University police contacted the FBI and Yik Yak. They were able to narrow down the search with the help of a cell phone provider, according to reports.
By Tuesday afternoon, investigators had whittled the list to just three people.
After interviewing each of them, Birdine was arrested.
“We appreciate the assistance of the FBI, Yik Yak and the cellphone provider in helping us quickly identify the suspect,” said Mike Robinson, OSU police chief. “We also appreciate the student who notified OSU police immediately about the post. Even though users of the service have anonymity, Yik Yak will use its resources to help identify a user when contacted by law enforcement about a criminal act or threat.”
Robinson also explained why students and staff weren’t immediately made aware of the threat.
“Since the threat was for ‘Friday,’ investigators did not believe the posts posed an immediate threat to the campus,” he said. “Still, the university took the threat seriously at all times. OSU was prepared to release information about the threat to campus, but did not want to impede investigators while progress was being made quickly in the investigation.”