National Security

FBI identifies one suspect in bomb threat calls at HBCUs

FBI Director Christopher Wray
Peter Afriyie
Christopher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in an oversight hearing of his agency on Thursday, August 4, 2022.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that the agency has zeroed in on one suspect following a string of bomb threats at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) made earlier this year.

The surge in bomb threats started Jan. 5, when Howard University and seven other historically Black institutions were targeted. 

By February, 17 different HBCUs had received threats.

Wray said the FBI now has a suspect in one of the string of calls, though it is still investigating other threatening calls made to HBCUs.  

“We’ve recently — with respect to the first big tranche of the threats — the investigation has identified an underage, a juvenile subject. And because of the federal limitations on charging juveniles with federal crimes, we have worked with state prosecutors to ensure that that individual is charged under various other state offenses, which will ensure some level of restrictions and monitoring and disruption of his criminal behavior,” Wray told lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Since that big tranche that we believe that individual was responsible for, there have been two other tranches. And we’re very actively investigating those, but there’s not much I can say on those ongoing active investigations, those other investigations, at this time.”

The FBI investigation involves at least 31 field offices, and in February the bureau had identified six “tech savvy”  juveniles who used complex methods to try to conceal the origin of the threats as persons of interest in the case.

“The bomb threats have been made in phone calls, email, instant messages, and anonymous online posts. FBI agents from multiple field offices are conducting hundreds of interviews and gathering a variety of electronic evidence for analysis,” the FBI said in February.

Tags bomb threats Christopher Wray Christopher Wray FBI HBCUs Homeland Security National security
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