Falls City takes school threat seriously
FALLS CITY - While the nation mourns the killing of 19 grade schoolers in Texas, Richardson County authorities are sorting through their own school threat episode.
Just days before a gunman barricaded himself in a Uvalde, Texas classroom, a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent was contacting authorities in Falls City about an unrelated, but troubling school threat.
The agent told sheriff’s Deputy Zac Ractliffe about Twitter posts about violence against a family, ideation to bring an “AK” to a grade school and threats about “picking off children.”
Sheriff Rick Hardesty said it is the first time there have been threats against a school in his term as sheriff, but the FBI tip was taken seriously. He said the reality of school shootings elsewhere accents the importance of law enforcement follow through.
In the Falls City case, law enforcement had time to bring the Twitter posts to the attention of a judge who issued a search warrant for a residence at 319 W. 15th St.
Sheriff’s deputies and Falls City police made contact with Dustin Moore and questioned him about threats over the past three days.
Sheriff Hardesty said officers did not uncover evidence to suggest that Moore was acting upon any of his threats.
Deputies said they asked Moore about threats to children and threats to put car bombs on squad cars and “moltoving” deputies’ houses.
An arrest affidavit says that Moore told deputies he made the posts to scare family members and said he does not have any weapons like those he described in social media posts.
Officers seized electronic devices in the search and the sheriff says an investigation is continuing.
Following the deadly shooting in Texas, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley renewed a push for the EAGLES Act, which would expand the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center to include school violence.
Opposition to the act says it undermines students’ rights and distracts from the issue of easy access to guns that enable mass shootings.
The National Center for Education Statistics website says five percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported fear of attack while at school and National Public Radio says threats against schools have been reported at 50 per day across the country since 2018.