A tip from Washington D.C. early this morning led to the arrest of a Maui man — for threatening violence at a school.
The tip came from a company formed to monitor exactly these kinds of threats.
The world is smaller than ever — thanks to the Internet.
The very platform that enabled the school shooting threat to be posted — was the same platform that enabled watch-centers to find it.
18-year-old Nainoa Gazman Figueroa of Kahului, was arrested for first-degree terroristic threatening early Monday morning — after a tweet under his name threatened to shoot up a school.
Bob Dowling, WATCHCENTERS founder and president, says his team spotted the troublesome wording — and immediately notified the Maui Police Department.
“When we see something we say something and we would encourage everybody who’s lIstening there, with your news channel to do the same thing.”
Police searched Figueroa’s home and found no firearms to indicate that the threat would be carried out at Maui High School.
The school posted a notice to parents on its website, by Principal Jamie Yap.
It said, in part, “All threats to our school or students are taken very seriously and are investigated thoroughly.”
“Penalties can range from detention to dismissal with the possibility of arrest and serious criminal charges.”
Dowling had a career with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
His company’s threat-assessment work is done by combat-wounded veterans and technology, giving them —
“The ability to identify, in all languages, in all forums, both deep, web dark web and other web, to be able to identify and surface just a single tweet out of what we call the needle in the needle stack.”
“And so to date, we have stopped 23 planned public school shootings.”
Maui police say Figueroa told them he posted the tweet because he “thought it was funny.”
Coincidentally — Maui High had a lockdown drill Monday.
Maui police say Figueroa was still in custody as of earlier this evening on possible terroristic threatening charges.
Maui High School and Maui police are recommending that parents talk to their children about how making threats — even as a joke — can have consequences.