CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office hosted a press conference Tuesday morning to release an update on the five bomb threats that occurred within the city and county over the last month.
Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry said they could not release a name of the person they have in custody in relation to the bomb threats because they are a juvenile.
“This case actually stemmed across several states with many juveniles involved,” Gentry said. “Law enforcement has done a great job handling this case and tracking down those who were a part of these crimes.”
Gentry said that the Cullman Police Department, the CCSO and the school systems have been working together closely to be able to bring this case to a close.
“What these juveniles were doing was known as ‘swatting’— which means they call the police to report a fake crime and video law enforcement or swat teams responding to the incident,” Gentry said. “This is a very serious thing. Not only are you putting law enforcement on an illegitimate prank call that could pull officers away from real victims needing our response, but you’re also creating a scenario in the heads of the responders that isn’t real.”
Gentry referred to a call that was made where a juvenile reported that he was local, had killed his wife and had barricaded himself in his home. When police responded, there was no such incident taking place.
“Responding deputies have to assume reported threats are legitimate. Law enforcement must prepare for the worst-case scenario and be prepared to respond accordingly. If it is actually a hoax, it can put innocent victims and law enforcement in danger,” said Sheriff Gentry. “These prank calls also diminish our resources to respond to legitimate calls.”
Gentry and District Attorney Wilson Blaylock said they couldn’t comment further on the details of the case— including potential jail time because of the ages of those involved.
They are in contact with district attorneys and law enforcement in the states where the other juveniles are located.
Gentry said that “making a terrorist threat” is a Class-A felony.
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