Three 19-year-olds have now been accused of posting threats on Yik Yak, a social media app that allows users to anonymously create and view discussion threads.
The University of Missouri Police Department announced early Wednesday that officials had arrested another suspect. Police first became aware of threats made online around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, when these messages appeared on Yik Yak.
Despite the online posts, the university's emergency information center tweeted just after midnight that there was no threat to the campus.
Just after 6 a.m. local time Wednesday, the university police department announced they had apprehended a Hunter Park, a 19-year-old white man, for posting the threats.
Park is not a University of Missouri, Columbia, student, though he attends another campus within the University of Missouri system, the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Authorities added that the University of Missouri, Columbia, is now operating on a regular schedule.
Park was not located on or near the Columbia campus at the time the threats were posted, police said.
Before his arrest, a Reddit account appearing to belong to Park bragged about "trolling" on Yik Yak.
A second person was arrested in connection with the threats around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Connor B. Stottlemyre, a 19-year-old student at Northwest Missouri State University, was arrested by campus police at his residence hall, university spokesman Mark Hornickel said.
Northwest Missouri State is about three hours away from the University of Missouri. Stottlemyre had posted a message on Yik Yak that he intended to harm a "group of people," Hornickel said.
His alleged message about shooting black people was shared by a number of students fearful of violence on the Mizzou campus.
Investigation is still ongoing about whether the threat was connected to recent protests.
"At this point, we really don't know," Hornickel said.
On Thursday, a third teen, Tyler Bradenberg, was charged with allegedly making terrorist threats on Yik Yak.
A judge set bond for Bradenberg at $75,000, and an arrest warrant was issued, according to court records.
He was accused of a threat made Wednesday to the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Campus police said they were notified of a threat Wednesday afternoon that said, "Im gonna shoot up this school."
Bradenberg is not a current student, authorities said.
Mizzou has been thrust in the national spotlight after protesters engaged in a weeks-long protest against university officials’ handling of reported incidents of racism on campus. On Monday, University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe both resigned from their positions.
Following Wolfe’s resignation, students gathered on campus to celebrate. At a campus quad, reporters were restricted from covering the public demonstrations, which led to a confrontation with a professor of mass media. On Tuesday, Melissa Click apologized for her language and behavior, and resigned from her courtesy appointment title with the University of Missouri journalism school.
While Yik Yak purports to be anonymous, it reserves the right to share certain information from law enforcement agencies investigating criminal activity.
Yik Yak records a user's IP address at the time of the app's installation, as well as the IP address used for each message posted. The application also stores the GPS coordinates of a user's location when he or she posts a message, as well as the time and date the message was posted. Users are also required to provide a phone number when posting content to the app.
Yik Yak released a statement Wednesday saying that threatening behavior is unacceptable and "not what Yik Yak is to be used for."
"Open and honest conversation can be a great thing — but it’s up to each and every one of us to ensure that it remains constructive, too," the company said in a statement. "Being a part of a herd means showing respect for one another, through our commonalities and our differences. There’s a saying that we always keep in mind on our team: With our thoughts we make the world. Let’s be sure we’re making a good world, starting with the communities around us."
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.