William & Mary student from Colonial Heights charged after social media post about campus bombing

Virginia News

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A William & Mary student has been charged after he made a social media post about bombing the campus.

The university said William & Mary Police were informed about a bomb threat made on social media on Dec. 8 and sent out an alert to campus just after 11 a.m. In addition to campus police, Virginia State Police and Newport News Police responded to the incident.

W&M also evacuated the Sadler Center, McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, Cohen Career Center and Aromas Daily Grind, in addition to the threatened location, the Sadler Construction site. Once bomb dogs cleared the area, all buildings were reopened just after 1 p.m.

Police identified a person of interest who was immediately questioned.

Barrett P. Smith, of Colonial Heights, was charged with one felony count of making a bomb threat.

“A threat of this kind is a serious matter. Thankfully this threat turned out to be unfounded and no one was injured,” said William & Mary Police Chief Deb Cheesebro. “We are appreciative of both the quick response from our partners at Virginia State Police and Newport News Police and the cooperation of our campus community with the necessary evacuations in yesterday’s event.”

According to the college’s student newspaper, The Flat Hat, the threat was a “meme” Smith had made of himself. It was a photo taken at the Sadler West Construction site while on a tour and the text “My initials are BS and I have snuck onto the Sadler construction site to set off a bomb.”

The Flat Hat reported the photos were posted on Smith’s Twitter account and the student Facebook group “Swampy Memes for Twampy Teens.” The posts were uploaded on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and taken down on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The group’s admins apologized for approving the post.

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