Student arrested for making Thursday's threats on Yik Yak that shut down SUNY Canton, faces up to five years
CANTON – A student from Brooklyn has been arrested for allegedly posting Thursday’s threats against SUNY Canton's campus via the anonymous social media site Yik Yak.
Alexis Vazquez was arraigned by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary L. Favro on federal charges in Plattsburgh, according to college officials.He is currently in custody of the U.S. Marshall Service pending a bond hearing, scheduled for Tuesday.
Vazquez was charged under 18 U.S. Code Section 875 (c), a law that prohibits the transmission of any communication containing a threat to injure any person or persons. He could face up to five years in federal prison.
Vazquez is a SUNY Canton sophomore majoring in Mechanical Technology, college officials said in a prepared statement.
Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Massena, are heading up the investigation in cooperation with the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, along with SUNY Canton University Police.
On Thursday, SUNY Canton students and staff were asked to seek shelter and lock their doors while authorities looked for signs that a second threat posted on Yik Yak was genuine.
The school had tried to maintain its regular schedule after a first threat was received earlier that morning, but the second threat forced authorities to take no chances.
Later that afternoon, students and staff were escorted from campus building by building after classes were cancelled.
Personnel at Yik Yak were fully cooperative and provided crucial information that led to Vazquez's arrest, college officials said.
"Words cannot express the gratitude we have for the Investigators from Homeland Security and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation," said SUNY Canton Pres. Zvi Szafran.
"Along with our exceptional University Police officers, all law enforcement agencies involved acted with professionalism and utmost cooperation."
Szafran also commended the SUNY Canton Community for their patience and resiliency during and after the campus lockdown on Thursday.
"The skills, talents, and determination of the Investigators from Homeland Security and the New York State Police are unparalleled," said Chief of University Police John Kaplan.
"All law enforcement agencies involved came together exceptionally well and operated seamlessly."
The investigation into the Yik Yak threats is ongoing.
University Police are asking anyone with any involvement or information about the threats that it is in their best interest to come forward.
University Police can be contacted at 386-7777 or [email protected].