Missouri man due in court over threat to shoot black people

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2015 7:02 AM

COLUMBIA, Mo. (Reuters) - A 19-year-old white Missouri man is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday on the charge of making threats on social media to shoot black people at the University of Missouri's main Columbia campus.

Hunter M. Park, from the St. Louis suburb of Lake St. Louis, Missouri, was arrested on Wednesday at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) in Rolla, where he is a sophomore studying computer science.

S&T is part of the University of Missouri System and Rolla is about 95 miles (153 km) south of Columbia.

Another 19-year-old white Missouri college student was also arrested on Wednesday for making threats on social media against blacks.

Connor Stottlemyre, a student at Northwest Missouri State University, was arrested by campus police in Maryville, Missouri, for threatening violence. It was not clear if the alleged threat was also inspired by the turmoil at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Stottlemyre, of Blue Springs, was being held at the Nodaway County Jail on Wednesday evening, said London Newkirk, a jail official. Police at Northwest Missouri State, about 220 miles (354 km) northwest of Columbia, were investigating.

The arrests came two days after the University of Missouri's president and chancellor stepped down amid protests over their handling of reports of racial abuse, and further raised tension on the Columbia campus.

Park will appear in the Boone County Circuit Court for his arraignment at 1:30 p.m.

Police said Park's threats had circulated on social media, including Yik Yak, where an anonymous post tagged 'Columbia' late on Tuesday read, "I'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see."

"Some of you are all right. Don't go to campus tomorrow," another post read. "We’re waiting for you at the parking lots," read a third post. "We will kill you."

Yik Yak, which cooperated with the police in tracking down Park, is an anonymous social media app that lets users to create and view posts within a five-mile radius.

Stottlemyre's threats were also on Yik Yak, a Northwest Missouri State spokesman said.

Authorities in California this month arrested a freshman football player at Fresno State University after he allegedly used the Yik Yak app to threaten gunfire on campus.

Christian Pryor, 18, was charged with making a "terrorist threat" after authorities tracked the phone he used to post the message, officials said.

(Reporting by Anthony Romano, Madi Alexander and Lakshna Mehta; Writing by Ben Klayman and Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)