Law enforcement arrests suspect within 36 hours of school threats

Pictured here (left to right): Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd, Darlington City Manager John Payne, Darlington Police Chief James “Jimmy” Davis, DCSD Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman, Capt. Kimberly Nelson and other law enforcement officers. PHOTO BY DAWSON JORDAN

By Stephan Drew, Editor

On February 1, 2023, at approximately 6:30pm, a minor was taken into custody by the Darlington Police Department for allegedly sending threats of violence two days in a row to a school in the Darlington County School District (DCSD), according to Capt. Kimberly Nelson, DCSD Safety and Security Coordinator. The exact age of the suspect has not been disclosed but, the person is under 18 and is currently a student in the school district.
Tuesday morning, January 31, an electronic message, threatening to do harm to Darlington High School (DHS), was sent to school administrators. The City of Darlington Police Department was notified and DHS went on heightened alert. After officers searched, it was determined that there was no immediate danger to students and classes resumed.
The following day, another electronic threat was received. Law enforcement was notified and the school continued on heightened alert. Again, officers searched the premises and found no imminent danger. The incidents were investigated by Darlington Police Department, the State Law Enforcement Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and it was determined that both threats came from the same Internet Provider (IP) address. By Wednesday evening, the person had been identified and officers discovered it was a minor. They went to the person’s address, executed a search warrant, and took the suspect into custody within 36 hours of the first threat.
On Thursday, February 2, 2023, a joint press conference was held, which included Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd, City Manager John Payne, Darlington Police Chief James “Jimmy” Davis, DCSD Safety and Security Coordinator Capt. Kimberly Nelson, DCSD Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman speaking to the public.
Chief James Davis of the Darlington Police Department stated that this behavior will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. “We knew it had to be stopped,” Davis said, “We had to identify this person and put an end to this type of threat.” Chief Davis also stated that his investigation department poured many hours into working with other agencies, including SLED and the FBI, to discover the identity of the juvenile male.
“Investigators at the police department, along with local businesses, state officials and federal officials were able to track down the IP address and identify our suspect,” Chief Davis said, “These guys, men and women, did not stop until this person was identified and we had put hands on.” He also praised their speed and dedication, when he said, “They did great work, dropping everything they were doing, to keep the children safe.”
Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd issued a warning to those who may be tempted to commit similar acts. “Anyone who’s out there, and they’re watching, I’m sure,” Boyd began, We’re not here to play. We have Zero Tolerance.” Boyd stressed that the City of Darlington, all law enforcement entities and surrounding agencies are steadfast in their mission to protect the children of Darlington and provide them with a safe, secure learning environment.
Darlington County School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman also praised those involved in the investigation. “I have all confidence in the Darlington City Police Department,” Newman said, “If they have an issue they have to address in our schools, they will be able to handle that and take care of it.” Newman also stated that the school district has received similar threats in the past. “If you look across the country,” Newman stated, “this is something that school districts are dealing with more and more. I think what’s important is that we learn how to deal with them and to make sure our students and staff are safe, but also not held hostage by the terrorism that it causes.”
On Monday, January 30, the DCSD hosted a dinner for municipal, educational, legislative and business leaders in this area at Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology. This dinner is usually held every year but, since the COVID pandemic, has not occurred in several years. At Monday’s dinner, the chief topic of discussion was School Safety. Dr. Newman said, “We started off this school year with four goals. The number one goal was safety and security.” Newman further explained that the DCSD is constantly evaluating and updating methods of security to insure school safety. “We are going to do everything possible to take care of our students, the children of Darlington County School District and our staff,” Newman said.
The incident is still under investigation and the police department is asking anyone with additional information about the case to contact the police department at 843-398-4026.

Author: Stephan Drew

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