Roanoke man charged with school threat

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ROANOKE, Va. – A Roanoke, Virginia man, whose online threats posted  this week to a Snapchat group used by students at Patrick Henry High School caused public schools in Roanoke to close today, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint.

Stephen Karl Johnson, 35, was arrested today after an investigation by the City of Roanoke Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Johnson was federally charged with one count of communicating in interstate commerce a threat to injure another person.

“This defendant caused fear and emotional distress to the parents and students of the Roanoke City Public School system and for those actions he has been justly charged,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “If anyone communicates a threat to our schools, our public servants, or our public institutions in the Western District of Virginia, we will seek to hold them accountable under federal law.  I am grateful to Chief Booth, the Roanoke City Police Department, and the FBI for their diligence in bringing a peaceful end to this situation.”

“The FBI will vigorously investigate and bring to justice those individuals who threaten to do harm to our communities,” said Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “We will continue working with our local law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe.”

According to court documents, on the evening of February 21, 2024, several threatening messages were posted to a Snapchat group used by Patrick Henry High School students. Those messages included but were not limited to:

“Im done bro fr on some real sh** I’m pulling up to school with a ak and any kid I see that’s in my sight I shooting fr.”

In reaction to these messages, Roanoke City Public Schools closed all facilities on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

In order to join the Snapchat group reserved for Patrick Henry High School students, users must register with a Gmail addresses. Investigators were able to trace the threatening messages to a Gmail address used by the defendant.

The FBI and the City of Roanoke Police Department are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Brett is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.