The FBI has identified at least five persons of interest in connection with a series of bomb threats this week against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to media organizations.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News that the persons of interest are juveniles and that the people who made the threatening calls used methods such as spoofing that allowed them to disguise the source of the calls.
The FBI said in a statement Wednesday that no explosive devices have been found at any of the schools that received threats, but that the agency “takes all threats with the utmost seriousness.”
“These threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes,” the statement said.
It did not give any information about suspects or details of the threats, citing the ongoing investigation.
The first bomb threats were made Monday, followed by a second round of similar threats Tuesday, prompting school officials to cancel classes and issue shelter-in-place orders.
Among those receiving threats Tuesday were Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia, both in Washington, D.C.; Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Florida; Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky; Fort Valley State, in Fort Valley, Georgia; Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans; Spelman College in Atlanta and Morgan State in Baltimore.
On Monday, Howard University, Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida; Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland; Albany State University in Albany, Georgia; and Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware, confirmed similar threats.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.