Man arrested after posting video threatening to shoot school

A 25-year-old man who posted a Snapchat video threatening to shoot up a New Hampshire high school has been arrested, police said Thursday.

Portsmouth Police said the suspect, 25-year-old Kyle Hendrickson, was charged with criminal threatening with a firearm. In the video posted Wednesday afternoon, he is in a vehicle with a gun outside Portsmouth High School and says “Imma gonna shoot up the school.” The incident, police said, was caught by Snapchat, which relayed it to the FBI who then contacted the local police around 6 p.m. They would not release the video.

“People should know better,” Portsmouth Police Capt. Dave Keaveny told The Associated Press. “If he thought it was funny or he did it to gain popularity on social media, then he should make better choices. We take those threats very seriously.”

The police and the school district released a joint statement Thursday, after deciding to close the school as a precaution. They said it was unclear why Hendrickson targeted the school, though Keaveny said they were unaware of any threats to staff or students. Hendrickson had not attended the school.

“The impact of closing schools today was not taken lightly, but this allowed the police department to focus on the investigation to identify and locate the suspect,” police said in a statement. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience as we worked to keep the school community safe.”

Superintendent Zach McLaughlin said in a message to the community Wednesday that police notified him about the threat and that they would close all seven Portsmouth schools. Schools will reopen Friday.

“I just want to acknowledge the emotions of a moment like this. It can be laced with fear, anger and sadness,” McLaughlin wrote in a statement posted on social media. “Amid this challenging time, we appreciate your support as we do our best to keep our students and staff safe.”

A spokesman for Snapchat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hendrickson was apprehended over 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast in Portland, Maine. Police said his last known address was in Berwick, Maine, and he was known to frequent the New Hampshire seacoast area and southern Maine. A phone number for him had been disconnected.

Hendrickson will be held as a fugitive from justice until he can be brought to New Hampshire to answer the charge.

It’s unclear if Hendrickson has an attorney.

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