PONTIAC, Mich. — Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard noted Thursday that at least 60 Michigan schools have closed amid copycat threats circulating following the Oxford High School shooting Tuesday and vowed to those making false claims "we will find you."
Bouchard said the authorities "anticipated a flood of false threats" and they are straining resources. The FBI and the Secret Service are joining in to help assess claims, he said.
"I don't know what's in people's minds to make them think that after a real tragedy it makes sense to make false threats," Bouchard said. "It is ridiculous that you're inflaming the fears and passion of parents and teachers and the community in the midst of a real tragedy."
Some think it's funny, others think it'll get them out of school, but Bouchard stressed, it's a crime.
"I'm confident (those making false claims) will be held accountable," he added. "If you're making threats, we're going to find you."
Bouchard was joined Thursday afternoon by Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Prosecutor Karen McDonald and area police chiefs and school superintendents and officials with the FBI to discuss the "tidal wave" of copycat threats in the wake of the Oxford shooting that killed four students and injured seven other people.
"A false threat of terrorism is a felony, it’s a 20-year felony. We will charge it and we will hold people accountable," McDonald said.
Bouchard said his department is "ramping up" its investigation into the threats, which he said affected schools as far away as Bay City. The sheriff added that none of the threats was credible.
The news briefing comes after numerous Metro Detroit school districts have canceled classes or dealt with a deluge of students seeking to leave schools amid reports of social media messages some have interpreted as threatening similar violence.
Authorities in Southfield, Sterling Heights and Flint said they made arrests tied to school threats.