Union County Sheriff's Office still looking for motive why former bus driver would shoot up school


UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Union County Sheriff's Office says it took a lot of leg work to find the person responsible for writing a threat on Facebook indicating shooting up Porter Ridge Middle School.

Investigators say 32-year-old Lashauna Beachum used a fake Facebook account to make the post. Investigators used internet services and Facebook to track down Beachum.

"We did link the origin on the post back to a residence where she actually lived with some others," Union County Sheriff's Office Chief Communications Officer Tony Underwood said.

Underwood says officers checked to see if Beachum had weapons to carry out the threat to shoot up Porter Ridge Middle School.

"We didn't have any information that she did or she had access to weapons," Underwood said.

Beachum is now out of jail on a $20,000 bond. The threat was made last week. Union County Public School Officials say Friday about 600 students were absent -usually there are about 60 students on average absent on a single day.

Porter Ridge Middle School student Jose Mena says he was absent Friday.  He says he didn't know what was going to happen.

"You still got to be sure." Mena said.

Beachum was fired from the school district after making the threats. She had started with the district in January. The district says she passed the background check.

The former bus driver also mentioned Suburban Estates. That is a community where many Hispanics live. Beachum wrote she was tired of them taking over the school.

"That's something else. I don't know if she had problems with students on the bus and was not getting the help she thought she needed or just prejudice to begin with," Suburban Estates neighbor Dean Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne also has a grandson who attends Porter Ridge Middle School. Her grandson also stayed out of school Friday because of the threat.

"I was like 'Oh my God. Especially right after the Florida - it was kind of shocking," Hawthorne said.

Underwood says since the fatal Florida school shooting in February, more threats have been coming in against Union County Schools.

"It happens more often than people probably realize. I think we've documented several incidences - thankfully the vast majority of those is kids," Underwood said.

Investigators say it is time consuming to track down every threat, but they say the top priority is school safety.

"We investigate every one of those situations with the same level of intensity. With the same level of seriousness to make sure there is no legitimacy to the threat - that the kids are going to be safe and the school campuses remain safe," Underwood said.

Beachum reports to court April 3.

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