FBI, ATF warn of threat of violence against 'university near Philadelphia'

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Sunday, October 4, 2015
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The FBI has sent out a warning of a threat of violence against "a university near Philadelphia" for Monday.

PHILADLEPHIA, PA -- The FBI and ATV have sent out a warning of a threat of violence against "a university near Philadelphia" for Monday.

In an email, the FBI stated, "Out of an abundance of caution, the FBI Philadelphia Field Office notified local colleges and universities of a social media posting which threatened violence at a Philadelphia-area college or university for Monday, October 5. No specific college or university was identified in the posting. We encourage students, faculty, and employees at area colleges and universities to follow the guidance of their campus security officials. The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to investigate threats of violence, and, as always, we ask the public to report suspicious activity to law enforcement."

In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Temple University alerted their community to check their emails for an important public safety message from Temple police.

That email was tweeted by the Temple's student news program Temple Update.

In the email, Temple police say, "Temple University, along with other colleges and universities in our region, has learned from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) that a threat of violence has been made online against "a university near Philadelphia." This posting states an action could take place at 1 p.m. central (2 p.m. eastern) Monday, Oct. 5, 2015."

Temple police say law enforcement is not aware of any specific threat at this time and they will have increased visibility on campus Monday.

Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania's independent student news organization The Daily Pennsylvanian tweeted about the warning, as well.

Drexel University and UPenn have also released statements Sunday regarding a safety advisory:

The FBI has notified all Philadelphia area colleges and universities about a recent social media posting threating violence at a Philadelphia area college or university on Monday, October 5. Since the shooting last week at a community college in Oregon, the FBI has seen similar social media postings throughout the country. - Drexel University

We have been advised by ATF and the FBI that they have "no knowledge of any specific threat". However, in an abundance of caution we are working closely with Federal and local Law Enforcement Agencies to monitor this unspecified threat. The Division of Public Safety has increased our police, security officer and CCTV patrols. - Upenn

In response to the warning, students in the area have been understandably alarmed.

"Just because all of the recent things have been going on, it's just scary to think it's possibly going to happen on our campus," said Mackenzie Leedy of Drexel University. "So I'm scared to actually leave my dorm tomorrow."

"It's just kind of scary because Drexel isn't that safe of an area the way it is, just given its history, and the fact that we don't know which school and it's a very specific time," said Amanda Stella, a junior at Drexel.

Action News will have more details as they become available.