Student charged with social-media threat against Garner, NC, high school

Hours after arresting a Garner Magnet High School student who they said posted a social-media threat against students there, police said they would have extra officers at the school Thursday morning to reassure families.

Judah Alexander Dennis was arrested at his Bayberry Lane home a little before midnight, police said in a statement issued to news media.

A post on the department’s Facebook page and Wake school officials said Dennis is a student at the school.

Police charged Dennis with one felony count of making a false report about mass violence on educational property. The false element stemmed from Dennis’ not having access to a gun.

The threat was posted on Snapchat early Wednesday evening from the user name Jacob Ellington.

The details of the threat were not disclosed by police. However, a Twitter user posted what was described as a post using the name Jacob Ellington. It had been edited before being posted.

“Today one of the [blacked out] at garner (sic) put his hands on me just because of my opinion in my earlier snap. Im (sic) warning all whites not to come to school tomorrow spread the word.”

Another Snapchat post captured for Twitter use and also supposedly from Ellington said, “Stay home from school tomorrow my white brother. Tomorrow Im cleaning up garner.”

Language used in those and a third Snapchat post shared on other social media applications seemed designed to make recipients think that “Ellington” was white.

Police said in a Twitter post, “The snapchat post was in the name of Jacob Ellington – we confirmed there is no student by that name. He used a fake name in his post.”

In an arrest warrant, police said Dennis “used Snapchat to threaten gun violence at Garner Magnet High School while defendant knew he did not have access to a firearm.”

A magistrate set Dennis’ bail at $5,000.

Principal Carter Hillman posted an online notice on the school’s website about the arrest.

“Good morning, Garner Nation,

“Because we want to keep you informed, I would like to provide you with an update on the incident affecting our school.

“I am relieved to report that last night the Garner Police informed me that they took custody of a student in connection to the social media threat.”

Garner administrators and school system security officers were violated, Hillman wrote.

“Social media is an incredible & powerful tool that gives each of us a voice. However, it’s a crime to use it to make threats against others,” Police Chief Brandon Zuidema said in a Twitter post shortly after Dennis’ arrest.

Police had appealed earlier Wednesday evening on social media for information about the threat.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT

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