Snapchat threats involved gun, Black Greeks

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Prosecutors have charged 24-year-old health sciences student Rebecca Merriweather in connection with a threat posted on Snapchat.

The Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 17 charged Merriweather with making a false report or threat of terrorism on Oct. 4.

The charge is a felony that carries a maximum possible penalty of 20 years in prison.

A non-student on Oct. 4 notified authorities about the threat.

“There were two different posts,” said Director of Media & Community Relations J.J. Boehm. “In one of them, the student indicated … ‘I’m going to go get my Glock and shoot these (expletives).’”

That post included a specific mention of shooting people at SVSU. The second post claimed that SVSU Black Greeks were planning a mass shooting the following week.

Merriweather appeared for arraignment before Saginaw County District Judge M. Randall Jurrens on Monday, Oct. 23, and pleaded not guilty. Jurrens continued the $7,500 or 10 percent bond that Merriweather already posted.

Merriweather is scheduled for a Nov. 8 preliminary hearing before District Judge David Hoffman.
According to a statement by University Communications released on Wednesday, Oct. 25, University Police investigated the post in cooperation with state and federal authorities and determined that the threat was not credible.

“No weapon was found during searches by police,” the email stated. “Over the past three weeks, we have implemented measures in the interests of the safety and security of our campus community. We cannot share specifics, due to federal privacy laws.”

University Police Chief Leo Mioduszewski stated that through their investigation, University Police determined there was no evidence that Merriweather had an actual plan to commit violence and that her claims regarding a planned shooting were false.

“If there was even an iota of evidence that there may have been a possible (credible) threat, we would have notified everybody right away,” Mioduszewski said.

Boehm echoed that point and said that the university responds seriously to any threat of violence.

“The most important thing from the university’s perspective is that any and all threats are taken seriously, because we understand the important role we have in keeping our campus community safe and secure,” Boehm said.

Because she is still subject to SVSU’s Student Code of Conduct, Merriweather was referred to the Office of Student Conduct Programs. Conduct reviews are separate from criminal proceedings.

Punishments for student conduct violations can range from warnings and fines to suspension from campus and expulsion from the university.

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