(Updated: 5:15 p.m.) Police arrested freshman Samuel Davies, 18, this morning in relation to two threatening social media posts on the app Yik Yak.
“Fellow Yaks,” one post said, “you all seem like good people and I care for you, so if you read this, please stay in your dorms or off campus next Wednesday, I care too much for you all to fall victim of the event.”
Sgt. Brad Moore of UCAPD said the department received a tip about one post Friday morning. He said an investigating officer contacted the app’s managers, who provided police with a location and phone number that linked Davies to the post.
Upon further investigation, police recognized Davies as a UCA freshman.
Moore said the investigating officer called Davies, who told the officer he was at his parent’s home. The investigator drove to the home Friday afternoon and spoke with him.
Davies told the officer he was dared to post the threat. Moore said the officer reported Davies being “very upset” and “apologetic” when interviewed.
(Correction: Moore corrected himself; Davies was not dared to post. He gave no specific reason for the post.)
The first post, however, was too vague to file charges. The investigating officer left Davies’ parents’ home without an arrest.
On Sunday, UCAPD was notified of another post made Friday that contained similar threats. Officers contacted Yik Yak and received Davies’ location and phone number again.
The second post was specific enough to file charges.
Earlier this morning, Davies was arrested in class at Thompson Hall by a plain-clothes officer.
Police transported him to Faulkner County Detention Center. He was charged with two counts: terroristic threatening and communicating a threat. Both charges are felonies.
Yik Yak “may be anonymous to the average user,” Moore said, “but it’s not really anonymous. Someone always knows who’s posting.”
Sgt. Moore said that many people have asked why UCAPD didn’t send out a campus safety alert when they were tipped off to the post.
“At no time was the university in any immediate threat,” he said. “Right after we heard about [the post, Davies]was arrested.”
Moore said it is unknown whether the second post was sent before or after the investigating officer spoke with Davies on Friday.
“We recognize that the incident reported by the University of Central Arkansas Police Department (UCAPD) this morning regarding social media postings may create heightened uncertainty and anxiety, particularly within the context of recent incidents of college campus violence across the country,” UCA said in a statement released earlier today.
“Currently, a suspect in this case is in custody. We applaud UCAPD’s prompt recognition of and response to this potential threat. Based on their assessment of the situation, we are confident that this threat has been addressed; therefore, campus is open, and university business will continue as usual.”
— UCAPD (@UCAPoliceDept) October 5, 2015