CalArts reopens after worrisome Twitter post; probe continues

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Signal file photo California Institute of the Arts.

CalArts re-opened Tuesday after being shut down Monday in response to a “possible threat” posted on Twitter.

After looking into the perceived threat, school officials sent out a message Monday evening announcing the school would re-open Tuesday for “normal activities.”

The message read: “After a full investigation, CalArts has re-opened its campus. Normal activities will resume at start of business on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.”

When school officials noticed the Twitter post Sunday evening, they immediately reported it to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

On Monday, while the school was closed, detectives scoured the campus and investigated the posted message.

And, while they continue to monitor the situation, and believe the threat was “not credible” detectives are continuing their probe.

“We do not believe the post originated from a local source – in or near Santa Clarita – so we are working with partner agencies to continue this investigation,” Lt. Ignacio Somoano, who heads the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s Detective Bureau.

“It is an active investigation and we do not want to compromise it.  We are continuing to work with the administration and security staff at CalArts to ensure the safety of their staff and students,” he said.

Although detectives would not confirm a copy of the Twitter post sent to them by The Signal for verification as being the same post questioned by CalArts officials, part of the text message of the post was confirmed.

“Although the credibility of the post has not been determined, it is an active investigation, so we will not be able to confirm nor deny the picture you have submitted is involved,” Somoano told The Signal.

That part of the text message confirmed Tuesday reads in part: “Don’t go to CalArts tomorrow.”

The full text of the Twitter post reads: “Some of you guys are alright, don’t go to CalArts tomorrow.”

An online search of the phrase “some of you guys are alright, don’t go to school tomorrow” revealed it to be an expression used by a 4Chan poster believed to be  Umpqua Community College shooter Chris Harper-Mercer, who reportedly warned readers of the website not to go to school the next day if they lived in the Northwest US.

The 4 Chan website describes itself as “a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images.”

The Umpqua Community College shooting happened on Oct. 1, 2015.

Harper-Mercer, 26, a student at the college, shot and killed an assistant professor and eight students in a classroom.  He shot and killed himself as police detectives responded to the incident. Eight others were injured.

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