Auburn University classes cancelled after reported threat - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Auburn University classes cancelled after reported threat

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Image tweeted by student newspaper The Auburn University Plainsman shows the alleged threat written inside a bathroom. Image tweeted by student newspaper The Auburn University Plainsman shows the alleged threat written inside a bathroom.
AUBURN, Ala. - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is doing a handwriting analysis on the threat that lead to the closure of Auburn University Wednesday, the Auburn Police Department announced late Wednesday afternoon.

"Numerous individuals have been interviewed, information reviewed, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has the message for analysis," the police department said in an e-mailed statement to WRBL News 3.

The handwritten threat found inside a campus bathroom and posted to social media lead school officials to cancel classes Wednesday. The threat  "raised legitimate concerns among the campus community," university spokesperson Mike Clardy says in an e-mail to WRBL News 3.

The alleged threat was found written on second-floor bathroom stall in the Haley Center three weeks ago, according to student newspaper The Auburn Plainsman. The handwritten message read:

"To whom it may concern, April 16th 2014 I will unleash a rampage of biblical proportions across this tiny campus... You have been warned."

The Auburn Plainsman reports Caleb Mason, a senior at the school, found the message. Mason reported it to police before posting it to social media, according to the campus paper. As the date approached, the image was spread around social media. School officials said they decided to cancel classes because of parent and student anxiety related to the threat.

"Reports late yesterday of a suspicious person on campus and a photo circulating on social media that connected the threat to the anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy raised legitimate concerns among the campus community," Clardy writes. "Although Auburn Police officials expressed they don’t believe this alleged threat represents any danger, security was increased and the university remains closed to normal operations until tomorrow morning out of an abundance of caution."

If located, the person or persons responsible for the message would be charged with a felony, according to the Auburn Police Department.

"Generating a threatening message intended to alarm others that results in the disruption of a school is a Class C Felony," the department says in their released statement.

Auburn City Schools, who were not mentioned in the threat, says the police department did added patrols at their schools Wednesday as an extra precaution. Drake Middle School went on lockdown briefly Wednesday morning after someone thought they say someone with a gun on Spencer Avenue. The item is now believed to have been a BB gun. Auburn police are investigating and the lockdown has been lifted.

Auburn University officials encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity or knows anything about the author of the threat to call Auburn Police Division at 334-501-3140 or anonymously at 334-246-1391.

The Auburn campus will resume normal operations tomorrow as of 5:30 a.m. Classes will be held as scheduled, and employees should report to work according to their regular schedules unless otherwise notified by their supervisor, according to Clardy. Dining venues, campus buildings and other facilities will operate tomorrow on normal hours beginning at 5:30 a.m. The Auburn University Libraries will open at 7:45 a.m.

Campus dining halls remained open Thursday. Plains to Plate is opened to 8p; Terrell and Village View Dining Hall until 1a; and South Donahue C-Store until 9p.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

James Brierton

James joined WRBL News 3 with experience from CNN, NBC News and his own hyper-local news site. He manages the WRBL News 3 Web desk. More>>

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