ROCK HILL, S.C. — A Texas man is now accused of making threats against a South Carolina high school on Monday.
In a news release shared on Tuesday, the Rock Hill Police Department said threats made against Northwestern High School were circulated on social media platforms. The department said the messages that included threats referred to the school as "nwhs" and claimed someone would "shoot up" the school.
Police said they determined the threat was made by someone in Harris County, Texas, which includes the Houston metro. Rock Hill Police worked with the Harris County Sheriff's Office to continue the investigation, and an arrest was made later Monday night.
Harris County deputies took 20-year-old Chris Morales into custody, and he is now charged by that agency with making a terroristic threat.
WCNC Charlotte was also told by Rock Hill Police their investigation is ongoing to see if charges against Morales could be filed in South Carolina. An inquiry has also been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice to see if federal charges are being considered and where Morales could be potentially tried in court.
The threat made against Northwestern High School is just the latest in a series of threats targeting Charlotte-area schools early in the 2022-23 school year. Two teens were charged with writing threats against Fort Mill High School earlier in September, while four schools in Cabarrus County and one campus in Iredell County were evacuated over the course of two days last week due to bomb threats. Mooresville High School ramped up security measures at that week's football game due to the threat. And just one day ago on Sept. 26, a Charlotte teen was also charged with making a threat to commit a mass shooting at Southwest Middle School.
Threats against schools aren't uncommon; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reports more than half of all bomb threats made against the United States involved schools, involving campuses across the country. Data provided by the ATF showed1,136 bomb threats were made in the country in 2021, with 515 of them directed at schools. 324 threats were made at various places of assembly (i.e. amusement parks, transit hubs, theaters and more), while 181 were made against residential areas.
Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.
WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.