A Kent State University student accused of posting a message on Twitter saying he would be “shooting up” the northeastern Ohio campus was instructed Monday to stay away from the school and its president.
William Koberna, a 19-year-old sophomore, was set to be released Monday after posting part of a $50,000 bond set at Portage County Municipal Court in Ravenna, about 20 miles east of Akron. He appeared via video from the Portage County Jail.
Conditions of his bond require Koberna to wear a GPS tracking device and to stay away from university President Lester Lefton and the school.
University officials say an employee was monitoring social media mentions of the school when a profanity laced tweet posted July 25 was discovered. The public tweet mentioned Kent State University, identified the university president by name and included a threat that he planned to be “shooting up” the school. The tweet ended with “ASAP.” It is no longer available.
Koberna was arrested Sunday afternoon at his parents’ home in the Cleveland suburb of Brunswick after university officials contacted police about the tweet. Officials say he was taken into custody without incident.
“Our primary concern is keeping the school safe,” said university spokesman Eric Mansfield. “We took this tweet very, very seriously, which is why we contacted police so quickly.”
Koberna has been charged with inducing panic, a felony, and aggravated menacing, a misdemeanor. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Friday at the Kent branch of Portage County Municipal Court. Court records do not list an attorney for the teen. Public records also do not list a phone number for him.
Mansfield said university officials are meeting Monday to discuss what disciplinary actions will be taken against Koberna. He could face possible suspension or expulsion.
“Any threat to our campus community is taken seriously and immediately investigated,” said Lefton in a statement on the university’s website posted to students and staff. “Our students, employees, and all those who come to campus should know that their safety is our top priority.”
Mansfield said officials do not ignore any threat to the school, especially after a recent shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., left 12 dead and 58 injured during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
“In light of what took place in Aurora, Colo., and with Columbine and Virginia Tech and even Chardon, we can’t take any chances,” he said.
Chardon is a city in northeast Ohio where three students were killed and three others were injured February. A teen has pleaded not guilty to charges in the shooting rampage at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland.
“We’re not playing games,” Mansfield said. “When someone posts something like this, we’re going to respond immediately to make sure our campus is safe.”
Koberna, a computer science major, is studying at the school’s College of Arts and Sciences. He was living off campus and wasn’t taking any summer classes.
Kent State was the scene of deadly gunfire in May 1970, when Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded.