LUBBOCK, Texas– After recent online threats were received at a local level, including on KAMC’S Facebook page, EverythingLubbock.com reached out to a mental health expert to ask about online threats and how the community should respond to them.
Facebook threatening message on KAMC
EverythingLubbock.com called the Lubbock Police after a man, later identified as Deaniel Deshan Walter, 29, posted to the KAMC Facebook page along with a direct message, an intent to kill someone else.
Walter stated that he was going to kill the victim in either the morning or the night at a particular establishment located in the 4000 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Police then located Walter, in the 4000 block of MLK. He was booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center just before 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.
A police report indicated more details than EverythingLubbock.com had the day the threat was made. In the report, the police officer located Walter at the address that was posted on KAMC’s Facebook page, and he denied knowing anything about it at first.
After the officer spoke with Walter, the police spoke with the victim, who also worked with Walter. Then, a woman approached the officer and said she was dating the victim but had ended the relationship. She said the victim “had flipped her off with his middle finger while at work,” and she said it was possible that someone told Walter about it.
The woman said that she did not tell Walter about the victim flipping her off, because of them “previously being in a dating relationship,” according to the report.
Other recent threats
EverythingLubbock.com reported that week, according to a police report, that someone sent a threatening email to another news outlet last week. The threat was directed to a particular person in the local news media.
In addition, police said officers became aware of a threat shared on social media to shoot people at the fair. The post was said to be baseless, but police always take safety and security seriously at the fair.
Weeks ago, a threat circulated widely online said there would be a shooting at a Lubbock location of Walmart. Police said the online post was not credible.
In Idalou, an online post caused concern among parents and the school system responded. The post was not a direct threat but instead an allegation that Idalou ISD was not taking a particular school shooting threat seriously. Idalou ISD responded with assurances that such threats had been taken seriously and examined by local police.
The mental health aspect
Dr. Andy Young, professor of psychology and counseling and hostage crisis negotiator for Lubbock Police, said these types of threats intend to cause fear, disruption and even panic.
“Revenge can be a factor, as well as anger and hate,” said Young in an email to EverythingLubbock.com. “The reasons for threatening are vast and many times situation and person specific.”
Young said there was a SWAT callout in Lubbock years ago where it involved someone who was psychotic and paranoid. He said after the person got out of jail for burning up a local hotel room, he emailed LPD.
“It was clear from the content of the email that he remained psychotic and paranoid,” said Young.
He said the response had to affirm to the person what was true, for example, the police were not surveilling him, and how to get some help for the fear they were experiencing.
Young added that the help could come from local agencies that could provide him with some support and evening counseling if wanted it.
“For people to know the resources available to anyone in distress, or feeling overwhelmed, who feel like lashing out, who might want to hurt themselves- (it) is a great first step.” he said.
Young said there haven’t been many instances when an online threat has not been taken seriously.
“Figuring out the best response to a threat is the hard part,” he said. “It’s always wise to not respond from fear because fear makes it very difficult to make good decisions and react well in difficult or even dangerous situations.”