Multiple FBI field offices are reportedly working with local police across Texas following a threat made against police on Twitter. The threat called for “24 dead police from Austin to Dallas” with a very specific time and date, July 13, 2016 at 23:00. The Twitter account has been deleted and the person responsible is still unknown. An e-mail from the Austin Police Department was sent to warn first responders of the potential threat, and it states:
As many of you know, there was information that came out on Sunday regarding a specific threat to law enforcement for this Wednesday, July 13th. In part, the threat mentioned a purge of police officers and an attempt to kill 24 officers in three cities across Texas. The threat also mentioned a specific date and time for this to happen in Austin as this Wednesday, July 13th at 11:00 p.m. on 6th St.
As soon as this threat was received, two different FBI Field Offices, as well as the Austin Regional Intelligence Center began working on identifying the person responsible for this post, as well as assessing the legitimacy of the threat itself.
It has since been determined that the person responsible for the tweet created the account for the sole purpose of sending out the threat, and then immediately deleted the account.
Additionally, the FBI and the ARIC have utilized all available open source searching techniques to find any indication that this tweet, or its threat, have gained any momentum. At the time of this writing, they have not found it to have been retweeted or forwarded at all. They have not found any groups or individuals putting forth this message or talking about this threat at all. They have not seen it anywhere online except this one deleted tweet.
The ARIC will continue to look and will send out a notification if any of this changes.
ARIC’s analysis of this threat is that it falls in line with the general rhetoric they are seeing on social media over the last two weeks, and that it was a message intended to inspire others to act, as opposed to a legitimate organized effort.
However, out of an abundance of caution our department is taking all steps we believe necessary to protect our officers.
Chains of command are encouraged to confirm all their personnel have received this information.
The “three cities” threatened are Austin, Houston, and Dallas. Specifically in Austin, the threat is targeting 6th Street, which is lined with bars, clubs, shops, and restaurants. Police have responded by strategically placing extra equipment throughout the area and increasing their staffing to one hundred percent. SOFREP was unable to obtain the specific threat locations for Houston or Dallas.
SOFREP contacted Austin Police and they confirmed the threat with this statement,
The Austin Police Department is aware of the specific threat to Law Enforcement for this Wednesday, July 13, 2016. We have been monitoring this threat and the legitimacy of it. APD will continue to monitor the threat and is taking all steps we believe necessary to protect our officers.
The assessment by the ARIC and FBI seems to be accurate, that this threat is just another anti-police rhetoric message on social media, however they are still taking precautions. Anti-police rhetoric increased on social media following the recent police involved shootings, which seems to have influenced the Dallas Police killer Micah X. Johnson. Many people have shown their support for the Dallas shooter and have even called for more police officers to be killed (you can read more of their responses in last week’s News Roundup by BK). Since the Dallas police shooting, there have been several attacks against police in multiple states as well as other threats. With every threat, law enforcement has to evaluate the threats for validity and take extra precautions to make sure officers and citizens remain safe. If you are in Dallas, Houston, or Austin today, you will probably see an increased police presence due to this threat.
SOFREP reached out to the FBI regional office for central Texas, but we have not received an official statement yet.
Image courtesy of Reuters