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Update: 12-year-old arrested in connection to two social media threats against Opelika Middle School

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Shane Healey; Farrell Seymore

Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey and Opelika Schools Superintendent Farrell Seymore speak Wednesday morning about the recent bomb threats at Opelika Middle School.

A 12-year-old was arrested late Wednesday morning after Opelika Middle School received two threats in two days.

The first threat was made on social media on Tuesday, and the second was a bomb threat made from the same account on Wednesday morning, according to Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey.

The youth was charged with two counts of terroristic threats, one for each of the threats. The case will be presented to Lee County Juvenile Court.

Around 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, the Opelika Police Department learned that a bomb threat had been made against the school, Healey said during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Opelika City Schools Board of Education building. At the time, he said a threat had been made Tuesday from the same username on social media.

Healey said that when the second threat was made, police were already working to track down the person responsible.

“So, we began this process yesterday since we received a threat yesterday,” Healey said. “Today’s threat did come from the same person or the same username as we got yesterday. We started those protocols to try to track down those usernames and IP addresses and stuff like that. It has led us to a couple of suspects. So, we’re in the process of talking to them.”

Students were evacuated Wednesday morning, Healey said, and bomb dogs from OPD and Lee County Sheriff’s Office searched the school and found nothing. An all-clear was then given, and students were allowed to return to class.

“Today’s threat involved the use of a bomb, so unfortunately we practice for this and have protocols in place,” Healey said. “So, we immediately, with our SROs and school staff, enacted those protocols to get the kids out of the school to a secure place where they would be safe.”

Dr. Farrell Seymore, superintendent of Opelika City Schools expressed his thanks for the response of law enforcement.

“We really do appreciate everyone working together for the safety of our students,” Seymore said. “We’re back in the building, and we’re resuming a normal day. Our goal is, No. 1, provide a safe, secure environment and high-quality instruction every day.”

At the press conference, Healey was confident that the perpetrator would be caught soon.

“We’re going to find out who you are,” the police chief said. “It’s not that hard for us to do. We’re going to get you, and we’re going to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

Healey stressed that it was important to realize that bomb threats are serious crimes and considered terroristic threats.

“It’s a felony, and whether you’re a young person or an adult, you can go to jail for a very long time,” he said.

Seymore also had a message for parents of students as well as the community.

“Safety is something we’re not going to compromise so that’s why we enacted the plan this morning,” Seymore said. “I’m here to say that we have great schools, and they’re safe schools. And we want to make sure our community and our families know that.”

If you have any information on this incident, please contact the Opelika Police Department Detective Division at 334-705-5220 or the Secret Witness Hotline at 334-745-8665. Tips can be submitted through the Opelika Police Mobile App.

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