Crime

Judge denies bond for Hunter Park, accused of making terrorist threats against black MU students

This is the booking photo of Hunter Park, 19, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., taken on Wednesday after his arrest for alleged terrorist threats on social media.
This is the booking photo of Hunter Park, 19, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., taken on Wednesday after his arrest for alleged terrorist threats on social media. Courtesy Boone County Sheriff’s Department

Hunter M. Park, charged with making terrorist threats to shoot black students and faculty at the University of Missouri, was denied bond Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court.

Park was arrested Wednesday after posts Tuesday night on the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak roiled the already volatile Columbia campus. Park, 19, is a sophomore and computer science student at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. He is from Lake Saint Louis, Mo.

Defense attorney Jeff Hilbrenner requested $10,000 bond, saying Park had no criminal history and that police had no evidence he had the capability of carrying out the online threats. Hilbrenner also suggested that Park be placed under house arrest and that he be restricted from any access to the Internet.

Besides denying bond, Judge Kimberly Shaw rejected those requests.

Park did not appear in court. Instead, he appeared via a video link from Boone County jail. His parents and two siblings were in court but declined to comment to reporters.

Park is scheduled to appear before a judge again Wednesday.

Following his arrest, Park told police he had a “deep interest” in a mass shooting last month at a community college in Oregon.

Police said Park’s anonymous threats on Yik Yak read: “I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see.” A second post said, “Some of you are all right. Don’t go to campus tomorrow.” Another said, “We’re waiting for you at the parking lots. We will kill you.”

Yik Yak cooperated with the police in tracking Park down by turning over his cellphone number used to create an account on the anonymous social media site.

Police say Park confessed that he made the Yik Yak posts, which he admitted were “inappropriate.” Asked why he made the threats, Park told an officer, “I don’t know,” later saying they were intended to rattle black students.

Park also admitted his “Some of you are alright. Don’t go to campus tomorrow” threat was designed to echo another online post made in October the day before a shooting in Oregon at Umpqua Community College left nine students dead.

Park said he had a deep interest in that incident. “I asked Hunter what he meant by the phrase ‘some of you are alright; don’t go to campus tomorrow,’ ” University of Missouri officer Dustin Heckmaster wrote in a probable cause statement. “Hunter smiled and stated ‘I was quoting something.’ I asked if he was quoting the Umpqua shooting; he replied ‘mmhmm.’ I asked why he had quoted the phrase, Hunter replied ‘I don’t know I just ... deep interest.’

Also Thursday, the Nodaway County prosecutor accused Connor B. Stottlemyre, 19, of Blue Springs with making racist threats on social media directed at students at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo.

The prosecutor charged Stottlemyre, who is a freshman, with a felony count of making a terroristic threat or in the alternative a misdemeanor count of making a terroristic threat.

Campus police arrested Stottlemyre about 11 a.m. Wednesday at his dormitory. He is accused of posting three threats online.

The first one was posted about 9:35 p.m. Nov. 5. It said, “I love evil, I just want to shoot up H&P they’re all bullies especially in Hudson,” according to court documents.

The threat appears to be referencing Hudson and Perrin halls, the university’s newest freshman residence halls.

The other two messages came shortly after midnight Wednesday. The first said, “I’m gonna shoot any black ppl tomorrow so be ready.” The second message posted minutes later said, “I love evil, I can’t wait for Northwest to make the news.”

Because of the threats, people called the Northwest Missouri State University Police Department, which notified minority students and also sent out mass electronic messages to people on the campus. Police increased security and also considered the need to lock down the campus, according to court documents.

After obtaining a search warrant, police traced the threats to Stottlemyre’s phone. After being questioned by police Wednesday, he allegedly confessed to making the posts, according to court documents.

Stottlemyre was being held in the Nodaway County jail on no bond.

Also Thursday, prosecutors charged a third Missouri man with posting online threats to attack a college campus. Nineteen-year-old Tyler Bradenberg of St. Louis was charged with a felony count of making a terrorist threat.

Authorities say Bradenberg posted, “I’m gonna shoot up this school” on Yik Yak on Wednesday. It was apparently aimed at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, where he studied chemical engineering for a semester last fall.

A Rolla detective said Bradenberg admitted he posted the threat. Acampus spokeswoman says technology was used to try to make it appear the post was made from the Rolla campus, but it wasn’t.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jason Hancock: 573-634-3565, @J_Hancock

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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