Federal investigators said they have six persons of interest in a recent rash of bomb threats targeting HBCU campuses across the country.
NBC News reported the six are juveniles and are “tech-savvy” and are disguising how the calls are being made, according to a source at the FBI.
More than 20 bomb threat calls have been made to historic Black colleges and universities over recent weeks, with a significant number of the threats coming on Monday and Tuesday leading the FBI to believe that the threats are racially motivated, NBC News reported.
Tuesday was the start of Black History Month.
Because of the threats, security has been increased at many campuses, WTTG reported.
Howard University in the district had two threats this week, one of which said “multiple areas” of the campus were going to be targeted. The threats prompted a lockdown but nothing was found.
Both campus and D.C. police are patrolling the campus now, according to WTTG.
Morgan State University and the University of the District of Columbia also received threats Tuesday, WRC reported.
Bowie State University also had a threat Monday.
Coppin State University in Baltimore was closed for in-person learning and was virtual Tuesday because of a “campus emergency.”
Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Florida and Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia also receive threats, NBC News reported.
Universities in Louisiana and Delaware also were targeted, The Associated Press reported.
The first threats started last month at Xavier University of Louisiana, ABC News reported.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating.
The FBI released a statement to our Washington newsroom saying:
“The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces are leading the investigation into the nationwide series of bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and houses of worship. This investigation is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country. These threats are being investigated as Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism and hate crimes. We are working closely with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, coordinating with the targeted institutions, and meeting with academia and faith leaders to share information.
“Although at this time no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations, the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats.
“Due to the continuing investigation we are unable to provide more details at this time.
“The FBI will continue our work to make sure all races and religions feel safe in their communities, schools, and places of worship. We would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious or have information about potential threats to report it to law enforcement immediately, call their local FBI field office, or submit a tip to tips.fbi.gov.”
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