A South Carolina man has been arrested on federal charges for making multiple threats to shoot up schools, prosecutors said.
Jonathan Trent Patterson, 22, of Belton, was arrested Thursday on a federal complaint for electronically transmitting an unspecified number of shooting threats targeting schools in Anderson County, according to a press release from U.S, Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.
WYFF News 4 has reported several threats over the last two weeks, the most recent coming in on May 28, which prompted a message to be sent to parents of students attending Wren Middle School, Wren High School and Concrete Primary.
A day prior, classes were canceled at all Tri-County Technical College campuses because of threats.
According to separate reporting by WSPA, the Belton Police Department investigated a faxed threat against an unspecified middle school on May 27, which was determined to be non-credible.
“I want to first let everyone in the Upstate know that we are not aware of any physical harm that occurred as a result of these threats, and the suspect is in custody and thus at this time does not pose a danger to the community,” said U.S. Attorney Corey Ellis in a prepared statement.
“While these charges speak for themselves, this office aggressively investigates and, where appropriate, prosecutes threats of violence and acts of violence. This is especially true when anyone threatens harm against our schools, and recent events confirm these threats must be taken seriously.”
Patterson’s arrest comes a little more than a week after an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15 barged into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and killed 19 children and two teachers.
Several students across the U.S. have been arrested over the past week for threatening to carry out copycat school shootings, including in New York, Florida and Arizona.
Patterson was scheduled to appear before a federal judge Friday afternoon.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.