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Moorhead police: School shooting threat is a hoax

MOORHEAD – An online threat of a shooting at Moorhead High School turned out to be a hoax that’s making the rounds on social media, police said.

Moorhead police learned of the threat about 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, from multiple phone calls, and officers immediately began investigating its origin and authenticity, Capt. Tory Jacobson said.

The threat was an image shared through the social media app Snapchat that showed an arsenal of guns with the messages: “Don’t go to school tomorrow @MHS. Students,” “@MHS stay safe,” and “loaded up bout head out.”

Police worked with the Moorhead School District to determine the threat was not real. Jacobson said the abbreviation MHS could refer to many different schools. He said a Google search revealed the same threatening image was directed at other school districts, including ones in Pennsylvania and Virginia where it apparently originated.

“The same photo is being circulated,” Jacobson said. “It’s the passing of a viral social media thing.”

The original threat targeted a Monticello High School in Virginia, and law enforcement officials took someone into custody in that case, according to a news release from Moorhead Police Lt. Deric Swenson. “Several other schools that began with the letter ‘M’ were later targeted using the same picture and message,” Swenson added.