Man accused of making threats to Providence High School ID'd, ar - | WBTV Charlotte

Man accused of making threats to Providence High School ID'd, arrested

Providence High School Providence High School
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police say the person believed to have made three separate threats against Providence High School students on an anonymous social media app over the weekend, has been arrested.

Patrick Philip Brehm, 22, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with mailing or transmitting anonymous or threatening letters.

"CMS Police will continue the investigation to identify any other individuals who may be involved in subsequent social media threats against students and staff at Providence or any other CMS school. Be assured that district officials are taking these threats very seriously and will prosecute any offenders to the fullest extent of the law," school officials said in a statement released shortly after Brehm was charged.The school says they will maintain added security at Providence High for the remainder of the week.

Police say they found Brehm around 10:30 a.m. on Monday and that he was "surprised" they found him. A source told WBTV that Brehm, a college graduate, was just "bored."

WBTV has learned that Brehm is a 2010 graduate of Charlotte Catholic High School, who just recently graduated with a degree in Statistics from North Carolina State University. He was also a volunteer junior varsity lacrosse coach at a Raleigh high school. 

Varsity lacrosse head coach Dexter Tillett was shocked to hear of the charges Brehm is facing. 

"He's a bright kid. I don't know why he would think he could do this and get away with it," Tillett said. 

Tillett tells WBTV he met Brehm in the weight room at N.C. State.  He says he seemed like a nice guy and knew lacrosse, so he offered him the the job. 

"He coached the team. No complaints all year. He was very quiet, but very respectful. No outburst on the sidelines," Tillett said. 

The anonymous threats posted on Yik Yak, which started Saturday, said, "come Monday you will be repaid for all the pain you have caused me."

Junior John Wickham says he and nearly 1,900 other students chose to stay home on Monday. "It could be a joke, it could be serious. But why wouldn't you play it safe? I know a lot of people like me who feel safe at Providence, but you know, hind sight is always 20/20," Wickham said.

The uncertainty of Monday caused quite a scare. “I'm very scared,” said student Aron Tacher, “I'm very scared for my friends. I'm scared for my family. I'm scared for myself.”

Aron did not take the online threats made against his school lightly. “There are some people that are just going to think it's a prank but don't risk it,” he said on Monday.

The three disturbing posts also sent parents into overdrive. “My children are not going to school,” said Ellen Tacher.

“I just got a text in a group message from like five or six people and it was a picture of what was said on Yik Yak,” said student Jonathan Duncan. “All of them were freaking out and saying I'm not going to school on Monday.”

Two more severe messages popped up on Yik Yak on Sunday.

“Providence is one of those schools it's a really nice school and has a high reputation so you think it wouldn't happen there,” added Duncan.

The school district notified parents of the threats on Saturday afternoon saying security will be stepped up in the coming days.

Providence High School principal Tracey Harrill sent the following email to parents on Monday afternoon:

"Dear PHS Parents: I wanted to update you on the threat to Providence High School. CMS Police in collaboration with CMPD has identified the person initiating the social media threats against Providence High School. The individual is not a CMS student. CMS Police will be working closely with the district attorney's office to determine the specific charges against the perpetrator. Law enforcement officials will continue the investigation to identify any other individuals who may be involved in subsequent social media threats against students and staff at Providence or any other CMS school.

Be assured that district officials are taking these threats very seriously and will prosecute any offenders to the fullest extent of the law. We will maintain an added security presence at Providence High School for the remainder of the week as an added precaution. It is important for our community to know that school safety is our number one priority and CMS fully investigates all threats, including social media posts, targeting our students, staff or schools. 

Like today, our schedule for tomorrow will be the normal schedule. Teaching and learning will continue. All after-school activities planned for the week are on schedule as normal, unless for other reasons, the sponsoring teacher reschedules them. Basketball practice for today is canceled. The basketball game for tomorrow has been rescheduled to a date in January. I will be in touch with more updates as I have additional information about the ongoing investigation."

Officials were unsure if the threat was credible.

“We take the safety of our students and staff very seriously. Immediate action was taken upon discovery of the threat. CMS Law Enforcement is working with CMPD to investigate the threat,” CMS chief communications officer Kathryn Block released in a statement.

Sunday, law enforcement conducted a sweep of the school to make sure the building and campus were safe, and say they found nothing.

Providence High school had eight extra police officers on campus Monday morning.

Similar postings about Ardey Kell and Harding high schools were posted on Yik Yak as well. There were two extra officers posted at Ardrey Kell High.

Ardrey Kell Principal David Switzer sent an email to parents with updates and informing them on the school's awareness of the messages posted on social media.

"Good morning Parents. This is Mr. Switzer, principal at Ardrey Kell High School, calling to provide you with an update about the social media messages posted this weekend in regards to causing harm to students and staff at Ardrey Kell and Providence.

We are taking these messages very seriously and have taken additional precautions to ensure that school runs safely and smoothly. We are working with CMS Police and CMPD to implement safety protocols and other measures to support the safety of our students and staff. There is an additional presence of officers on campus today and throughout this week.

Today, I spent time on the morning announcements reiterating our policies and procedures and reassuring students that by following these processes, we help to ensure school safety for everyone. Our focus continues to be on teaching and learning and school will proceed as normal today.

We will have after school activities as normal with increased police presence. In addition, we are taking other precautions for safety but because the safety plan is a confidential plan (for the safety of our students and staff), those measures will not be shared with the general public.

Please know that there is nothing more important than the safety of our students and staff. The investigation will continue until the source of the threat is identified and addressed to the fullest extent of the law. As always, thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions, please contact me through email and I will be happy to answer them. Have a great day."

CMS and CMPD plan to speak to the District Attorney Tuesday afternoon and go over the case. They say they want charges to stick so that conviction can happen.

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