UPDATED Dec. 7, 12:00 p.m.
Police have determined that a juvenile was responsible for making violent threats on social media against schools schools in Maspeth and Middle Village, and a potential threat to a school in Elmhurst.
“The NYPD, through an investigation, identified the individual responsible for the threats made to local schools in the area via social media,” Detective Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit said in an email on Thursday morning. “The individual responsible was determined to be a minor. There are no credible threats to any local schools at this time.”
According to law enforcement sources, the unidentified Instagram user issued the threat on Dec. 1 against three schools in the area: P.S. 58 in Maspeth; Middle Village Preparatory Charter School; and “St. Albert’s” School, which police interpreted to be a misspelled reference to St. Adalbert Catholic Academy in Elmhurst.
While authorities did not release specific details about the threat itself, sources familiar with the investigation said that the Instagram post referred to possible shootings at the three locations.
Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to P.S. 58 and Middle Village Preparatory Charter School on Friday afternoon and determined that both campuses were safe. The 110th Precinct similarly checked out St. Adalbert Catholic Academy and found no threat to safety.
Nevertheless, the threats prompted the principals of P.S. 58 and St. Adalbert Catholic Academy to send home letters to parents that afternoon. Copies of these letters were provided to QNS.
“We are monitoring the situation and will continue working closely with the NYPD to ensure the safety and security of our building,” P.S. 58 Principal Adelina Valastro-Tripoli wrote to parents and staff. “We assure you that every precaution will continue to be taken to ensure that our students and staff will remain safe.”
“There was no imminent danger to anyone today,” Sister Kathleen Maciej, principal of St. Adalbert Catholic Academy, said in her letter to parents. “The police informed me that they would be contacting me on the procedures they would take to ensure the safety of everyone. Once these procedures are made known, I will share them with you.”
Sources familiar with the investigation stated that the juvenile responsible for the prank is under 13 years of age.
“Safety is our top priority and we are closely monitoring this situation,” a Department of Education spokesperson told QNS in a Dec. 4 statement. “The NYPD is conducting an investigation and we are providing the school (P.S. 58) with additional safety support.”