Student charged with felony for bomb threat on Sadler Center

ZACH LUTZKY / THE FLAT HAT

Editor’s note: This is an ongoing story and will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. Last updated Dec. 10 at 3:31 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 8, in a statement sent to The Flat Hat, William & Mary Police Chief Deb Cheesebro confirmed that Barrett Smith ’23 will be charged with a felony for making a bomb threat on the Sadler Center. 

“This afternoon Barrett P. Smith, of Colonial Heights, VA. was charged with one felony count for violation of VA statute 18.2-83 (threatening to bomb or damage a building),” Cheesebro wrote. “A threat of this kind is a serious matter. Thankfully the one received this morning turned out to be unfounded and no one was injured. 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.”

The threat comes from an image Smith posted on their personal Twitter account and onto a popular Facebook group for students “Swampy Memes for Twampy Teens.” Uploaded the night before, both posts were taken down this morning.

The image featured a photo of Smith, taken at the Sadler West construction site while on a College-sponsored tour on Friday, Dec. 3. Smith’s meme contained the photo of them at the site with the text “My initials are BS and I have snuck onto the Sadler construction site to set off a bomb.” Members of the Flat Hat were also on the tour of the site, which included a walkthrough of new facilities for media organizations. Smith was on the tour as part of WCWM Radio.

“William & Mary Police received information about a bomb threat on social media this morning and sent an alert out to campus just after 11 a.m,” College Spokesperson Suzanne Clavet wrote in an email. “In addition to William & Mary Police, Virginia State Police as well as officers from Newport News Police also responded. Out of an abundance of caution, the Sadler Center, McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, Cohen Career Center and Aromas Daily Grind were evacuated in addition to the Sadler Construction site, the threat location. Bomb dogs cleared the area and all sites were reopened just after 1 p.m. A person of interest was immediately questioned.”

In a statement to The Flat Hat, the “Swampy Memes for Twampy Teens” administrators apologized for approving the post to be uploaded.

“The Swampy Memes admin team deeply apologizes for the negligence in accepting the meme that resulted in the Sadler bomb threat. The meme was not fully consumed by the admitting moderator in their review process, completed in brevity late last night. The team recognizes our responsibility for maintaining the group’s content and the implications it may have across the campus community, and we regret today’s events immensely. We will be placing warnings on the page not to submit any content that threatens any bodily harm, regardless of context or relation to campus, to mitigate this from happening in the future.”
Smith has a hearing set for Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom one in the Williamsburg/James City County General District Court.

Read The Flat Hat’s earlier brief on the situation at https://flathatnews.com/2021/12/08/virginia-state-police-investigate-bomb-threat-at-sadler-center-threat-determined-to-be-unfounded/

 

 

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