An anonymous Twitter account posted a haunting message on August 8th that appeared to threaten Penn State University and its students. The message, which came from the account @DanielTheDuck8, stated, “I have decided that I’m going to commit the biggest mass shooting in history of the world, killing thousands of fans in beaver stadium.”
Rightfully alarmed, the university police contacted the FBI to begin an investigation into the threat. Investigators noted the original tweet contained a hashtag reference to Penn State, other profane hashtags and linked accounts including the university’s football team. The State College Police Department was also tagged in the post.
University Police, the FBI and Twitter worked together to identify the user behind the anonymous account. The account was later deleted off the social media platform.
In a press release on August 23, authorities confirmed they had identified the man behind the account, and he has since been arrested and charged. Charles Thomas Hitechew, a 22-year-old resident of Gibsonia, was charged with two counts of terroristic threats. He was taken to jail before being released on a $15,000 bail.
When authorities visited Hitechew’s family home, his father told an FBI agent that his son admitted to sending the tweet. He told the FBI that his son was attempting to be inflammatory, but he never intended to carry out the act. When Hitechew came to his senses and realized the seriousness of his situation, he deleted the tweet, profile and account. He admitted to making a “stupid” mistake.