Police increase presence at Palm Bay school after social media threat

PALM BAY, Fla. — A social media threat discovered Thursday evening warning of a massacre at Southwest Middle School was later determined to not be credible, the Palm Bay Police Department said.

Police were initially treating it as a credible threat, Palm Bay police Lt. Mike Bandish said during a Friday morning news conference.

The threat, which warned of a "massacre" two years in the making, was made from outside the United States using an anonymous app, Bandish said.

"Don't take this as a joke," the threat said. "It will happen. Watch out for the 17th."

The school's principal told parents in a recorded message Thursday evening that extra police officers would staff the campus Friday.

"We're working to make sure the kids are safe," Bandish said. "We're not taking any chances. We're working up all leads."

Bandish said it was later determined that the threat mentioned the word "Southwest," but didn't specifically mention the school.

"I'm getting very tired of hearing these threats," parent Eddie Hodes said.

Nonetheless, he said there would be an increased law enforcement presence on campus Friday.

Of the 842 students enrolled at the school, there have been nearly 600 absences.

No other details were given.

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