Crime & Courts

Why didn’t police tell the public weeks ago about the Cardinal Newman School threat?

5 things to know about Cardinal Newman School

Here are five facts about Cardinal Newman School, located in Richland County.
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Here are five facts about Cardinal Newman School, located in Richland County.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department did not alert the public two weeks ago about a now former student’s threat to “shoot up” Cardinal Newman School because he was not “an immediate threat.”

During the last school year, the sheriff’s department issued four news release announcing threats to other Richland County schools as well as any arrests. But the department did not alert the public in mid-July after a 16-year-old was charged with threatening Cardinal Newman, a private Catholic school in northeast Richland County.

The student was arrested after authorities were given videos recorded in May that showed him making racist comments, shooting at an object he imagined was black men, and threatened the school. Authorities have said those videos weren’t discovered until mid July.

“In previous incidents of threats on school campuses, the sheriff’s department has released information for public safety purposes, such as the school being in session or to address the concerns of parents and students,” the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Also, information is released when responding to ongoing incidents such as school lockdowns. The threat in this case was historical, was neutralized with an arrest, and posed no immediate threat to the students of Cardinal Newman.”

Police arrested the student and charged him with threatening a school on July 17, but did not publicly acknowledge the threat until The State asked about it last week.

Since August 2018, at least four other threats of violence have been made toward K-12 schools in Richland County, according to the Richland sheriff’s Facebook press release page.

News releases were issued by the department about the other four. Those threats were made on the internet or social media and during the school year.