Homeland Security says its aware of threats made to schools on Friday, asks communities to remain alert


FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2015 file photo, the Homeland Security Department headquarters in northwest Washington. An advisory issued by officials in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia warns that hackers linked to the Iranian government have been targeting a “broad range of victims” inside the U.S. with ransomware and other malicious cyber activity. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Department of Homeland Security is warning school districts across the country Friday morning to remain aware of their surroundings.

The agency said while they don’t “have any information indicating any specific, credible threats to schools,” they are asking that people keep their eyes peeled.

Just last week, a 17-year-old student at Winona High School in Smith County was arrested after an investigation into threats of a possible school shooting.

The case started when the FBI National Threat Operations Center got an anonymous tip, which was then forwarded to Smith County authorities along with the Tyler FBI office.

Tyler Austin Tate, a sophomore student, was arrested after investigators met with school administrators. He is currently charged with terroristic threat, a third-degree felony in Texas.

Sheriff Larry Smith said his department takes “…any potential threat against a student or anyone, we will always take seriously. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it, because you will be dealt with and dealt with swiftly.”

In a separate case last week, the Longview Police Department arrested a person of interest after an alleged “kill list” was reported at Spring Hill ISD.

No identifying information about the individual was released by the department. The school district released a statement at the time that said in part that “Safety is the number one priority for Spring Hill ISD… the situation has been addressed, and students and staff are safe.”

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