Sumter County middle school students face charges for sending threats to school, public officials

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DALZELL, SC (WBTW) – Three middle school students are facing charges after they sent emails threatening both school and public officials.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office responded to Hillcrest Middle School after finding out the email in question had been sent through the school’s email system.

Officials say the email threatened several teachers, District Superintendent Dr. Frank Baker and Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis and included a threat to “shoot” up the school.

According to Ken Bell with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the emails were vulgar and also contained a picture of an assault rifle.

Further investigation determined that the picture was a stock photograph copied from the internet and there was no indication that the students had actually possessed and photographed the weapon themselves, officials said.

Deputies spoke with the individual whose name was shown on the emails and, through the course of the investigation, found two more students allegedly  involved.

On Thursday, investigators interviewed the two other students with their parents present and found that all three had conspired to send out the emails.

Charges include two counts of threatening the life of a public official and one count of disturbing schools.  The 13-year-olds  will be petitioned to the Department of Juvenile Justice.