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HBCU bomb threat caller described complex plot, police say – CBS Baltimore

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (AP) – One caller threatened to blow up a historic Black College in Florida – one of many threats to schools nationwide — described an elaborate plot involving seven bombs hidden in duffel bags and backpacks around the perimeter of the school, a Florida sheriff said.

In a 20-minute phone call, the caller said bombs containing C-4 explosives would be detonated at Bethune-Cookman University on Monday, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said. at a press conference. The caller also said a gunman would open fire on campus around lunchtime that same day, Young said.

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At least a half-dozen historically black colleges in five states and the District of Columbia received bomb threats on Monday, and at least a dozen others received threats such as: so on Tuesday. Many schools have closed their campuses for a while. Authorities found no bombs after extensive searches.

School officials say threats against several other schools have also been made, but few details about those calls have been released.

Investigators have identified at least five “people with interests,” a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Investigators believe a fake phone number was used to carry out the threats, the official said.

The official could not publicly discuss the details of the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. ABC News was the first to report on the development.

Both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have announced investigations. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating threats of hate crimes, the agency said in a statement Wednesday.

“This investigation is the highest priority of the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country,” the agency said. “These threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.”

In Florida, Young said the caller he spoke to claimed to be affiliated with the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division.

In May, a federal judge in Virginia sentenced former Atomwaffen Division chief John Cameron Denton to more than three years in prison for his role in a plot to make bogus bomb threats and call 911. to over 100 targets, including a Black church. Others accused in the “swatting” scheme had links to or expressed sympathy for the group.

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Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Counter-Extremism Center, said he is now “reserving judgment” on whether Atomwaffen was involved in the investigation into the bomb threat. Are not.

“Is that consistent with the Atomwaffen bill? It has. In other ways, it could be people who are not affiliated with Atomwaffen but are using it because they know it will create shock value,” said Segal. “I just think it’s too early to tell.”

In addition to Florida, threats were sent to schools in Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and other states.

“What I am saying is, it is simple and straightforward terrorism, no matter how you cut it, no matter how you cut it,” said Belvin Perry, Chairman of the Bethune Board of Directors- Cookman, tell Daytona Beach News-Journal. “It is designed to cause terrorism. It is designed to make people feel uncomfortable. It was designed to scare people off.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the threats disturbing and said the White House was in contact with federal law enforcement officials.

The bomb threats occurred at the beginning of Black History Month, and less than a month after a series of bomb threats were made against many historic Black colleges on January 4.

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Balsamo reports from Washington. Associated Press writer Michael Kunzelman of College Park, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/02/02/hbcu-bomb-threat-caller-described-elaborate-plot-police-say/ HBCU bomb threat caller described complex plot, police say – CBS Baltimore

Tom Vazquez

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