While visiting the home a former teammate last month, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was alerted with a direct message on his Instagram account from a fan saying that one of his followers posted a threat to his feed.
The user who reached out with the alert under the username "jesseyi3" told Edelmen, "Dude, there is a kid in your comment section says he s [sic] going to shoot up a school, i think you should alert the authority [sic]."
Edelman instead alerted his assistant, Shannen Moen, who found the alarming post made by user 'its_ya_boiii_aidan" under a photo on Edelman's page from March 25, that said: "I'm going to shoot my school up watch the news."
Once officials were notified by Moen, the threatening message was tracked to a 14-year-old in Port Huron, Michigan. The youth admitted the threat, which was directed toward his school, Central Middle School in the same town. He was charged with a felony for making a false report of a threat of terrorism.
Online threats against schools are being pursued more aggressively after law enforcement failed to stop the mass murder at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Feb. 14. The killer in that incident had posted similar comments prior to staging an attack that resulted in the deaths of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Following the arrest of the Michigan student who posted on his Instagram, Edelman referred to the Florida attack when talking to The New York Times, saying, "With the emotions of what happened, and I have a kid now, I said, 'Holy Toledo, what is going on?'"
Moen described Edelman's shock after notifying him of the arrest: "When I told Julian, he was in shock. We're very lucky the Boston cops were all over it, very lucky the Michigan cops were all over it."
And Edelman is now searching for the follower who notified him of the threat in the first place. Giving credit to "jesseyi3," he said, "Thankfully, this kid said something. We're going to send him something, a care package, just for his work. He's a real hero."