Federal investigators have identified six persons of interest in connection with their investigation into a series of bomb threats made earlier this week at HBCUs across the nation, according to MSNBC.
At least 13 historically Black colleges and universities confirmed receiving bomb threats on Tuesday, as previously reported by theGrio. Another six received similar threats on Monday.
Additional threats were received by several HBCUs in early January.
The persons of interest recently identified by the FBI are all “tech-savvy” juveniles who have been disguising how they make calls to the schools receiving threats, NBC News correspondent Ron Allen told MSNBC on Wednesday.
“They appear to have a racist motive,” Allen said, citing a senior FBI official. Allen emphasized that the persons of interest are not suspects yet.
“It’s unclear how far the case against them, or, if there’s going to be an arrest anytime soon,” he said.
More than 20 FBI field offices across the country are involved in the HBCU bomb threat investigation, the bureau said in a statement on Wednesday.
“These threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes,” the FBI said. “We are working closely with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; coordinating with the targeted institutions; and meeting with academia and faith leaders to share information.”
Several HBCUs were forced to shut down their campuses after receiving threats on Monday and Tuesday. Some shifted to virtual classes while investigators conducted sweeps of locations where bombs were supposedly planted.
No explosives have been found at any of the HBCUs that received threats, the FBI said.
White House staffers and President Joe Biden have been monitoring the investigation, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday.
U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) told theGrio via email on Monday that they have requested more information about the bomb threats from the FBI.
“There is no denying the surge of racially-motivated violent extremism and the threat it poses to our nation,” the lawmakers told theGrio in a joint emailed statement. “We will remain focused on ensuring that all appropriate resources are utilized to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of these threats, and to combat the scourge of white supremacist violence and terrorism.”
The FBI is asking members of the public with information about the bomb threats to report it to law enforcement, call a local FBI office, or send their tip to tips.fbi.gov.
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