Mizzou Police Take Hunter M. Park Into Custody After Social Media Threat (UPDATED)

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Hunter Park is suspected of making racist threats directed at students at the University of Missouri. - IMAGE VIA BOONE COUNTY SHERIFF
  • Image via Boone County Sheriff
  • Hunter Park is suspected of making racist threats directed at students at the University of Missouri.

Update at 8:45 a.m.: The suspect has been identified as Hunter M. Park, a 20-year-old who is not a University of Missouri student. Park was arrested in Rolla, Missouri.

According to the University of Missouri Police Department, "Park was contacted in Rolla, Mo. by the University of Missouri Police and transported to the University of Missouri Police Department in Columbia where he was arrested and processed. Additional information cannot be released due to the investigative nature of the report."

Park is apparently from Lake St. Louis; we've added his booking photo below.

Original story follows....

Campus police at University of Missouri have taken someone into custody following a threat on a widely used campus social network, YIk Yak, last night.

Yik Yak allows people near any given campus to post anonymously — the postings can then be viewed by anyone tapping into that campus' network. They don't have to be a student to post, or to read the messages, but they do have to be geographically close.

The suspect was taken into custody off campus, according to police.

Police have not given specifics of threat, but a widely shared screengrab on Twitter last night contained this chilling statement: "Some of you are alright. Don't go to campus tomorrow." 

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On Yik Yak, students reacted immediately. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" one wrote. 

"If that is a threat it is completely inappropriate," wrote another.

At 7:44 p.m. last night, the university announced it had increased security after "social media threats." A few hours later, at 10 p.m., the statement was updated to say it was actively investigating: "MUPD is investigating reports of threats made in social media. Please call 911 immediately if you need help."

On Monday, the systems president at the university stepped down following student protests, and the chancellor agreed to take on a new role. Tension has been high. Some students had used Yik Yak to push back anonymously against the developments, as MSNBC reported.

Here's the official statement in the most recent MU Alert issued this morning at 6 a.m.

University of Missouri Police have apprehended the suspect who posted threats to campus on YikYak and other social media. The suspect is in MUPD custody and was not located on or near the MU campus at the time of the threat. We will update this website as additional information is confirmed. MU is operating on a regular schedule. Please check here for official information. Safety is the university’s top priority and we are working hard to assure that the campus remains safe while information is obtained and confirmed. This is the official University of Missouri emergency alert website. Whenever an emergency occurs that affects the university community, this website will be updated as quickly as possible with the most current, confirmed information. Please check here for official information. So that phone systems do not become overloaded, please do not call MUPD as they are working hard to confirm facts and maintain the safety of the campus. We are in touch with them as they work through the process and will update this website as quickly as information is received and confirmed. Safety is the university's top priority, and we are working hard to assure that the campus remains safe while information is obtained and confirmed.

Update at 9:52 a.m.

Another threat on Yik Yak was reported last night — one threatening to "stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see." It's unclear at this point which is linked to Park — or whether both originated with him.

Here's the other threat, which is far more direct and graphic.

yikyakthreat.jpg



We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

Editor's note: This story and its headline were updated after publication to include the name of the suspect.


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