Posts made on the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak warned students not to come to the University of Missouri campus and threatened that black people would be shot.
Two 19-year-olds have been arrested on suspicion 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 Wednesday morning that officials hadarrested a 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. They 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.
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.
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.”