NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Bomb threats are no stranger to the City of Nashville. The acts of violence have increased throughout the United States according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
News 2 uncovered new information after bomb threats were made against Nashville Public Libraries in September. At the time, all locations shut their doors after law enforcement labeled it as an “out of state” threat.
The threat came during a time when multiple libraries in Nashville, Fort Worth, and Denver were targeted during “banned book” week, which was created as a way to protest censorship.
“It doesn’t surprise me that it would be at a library which is a font of culture and knowledge and diversity and all those things that some of our forces of hate feel like are a danger to people. So, it wasn’t surprising, unfortunately. I wish it would have been,” said Council member Ginny Welsh in an interview with News 2 shortly after being alerted to the threat in September. “Going into the garage and not having the ability to call out and communicate out made everything just a little bit scary because you thought wow if there’s really a bomb in there that could go off at any time, I can’t even say final works to somebody if this was my final time, so it was just kind of a little bit surreal.”
This week, Metro police announced an arrest in the case. The department, working with the FBI, led to the arrest of 42-year-old Josh Kimble, of Ontario, Canada. According to News 2’s ABC affiliate in Boston, this isn’t his first time making these types of threats. In October, he was accused of transmitting online threats to Boston Children’s Hospital.
Online threats have become more common.
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“There has definitely been an uptick in threats made on social media, so I can say that is something that we see happen a lot, and we take seriously any threats that are made on any platform, whether it’s mail, social media, in person,” explained Beth Kreppeir, Supervisor Special Agent, FBI Nashville, Memphis Division.
According to the latest data online from the ATF, in 2021, the department received a high number of bomb threats, totaling nearly 2,000. That number is higher than in the past four years.
“It’s convenient, it’s right there, and I think a lot of people think it’s anonymous, but it’s not entirely anonymous, and so they feel like their protected behind their screen and keyboard, but that’s not necessarily the case, as soon as you put that threat out there and it comes to our attention, we will investigate it,” said Kreppeir.
The same month those library threats were reported, at least six people were charged after making threats to Metro Public Schools. The threats warned of mass violence on social media. In all but one instance, it was a teen making the threat.
“Kids make poor mistakes on the internet as well as intentionally do things on the internet that they should not do, and those are criminal acts, so yes, there have been kids that have been caught doing those things and they are investigated, and some prosecuted,” Kreppeir said.