MISSOULA, Mont. - Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry confirms the domestic terrorist behind the threats to schools has now hacked into the Columbia Falls School District server. By doing so, the suspect gained access to phone numbers of staff, parents and students and started sending threatening text messages to specific individuals.
Columbia Falls Police Chief Clint Peters says there is no immediate threat to the public. He says they were aware their server was compromised, but didn't know if any information was stolen. They received reports around 3 p.m. Saturday that the suspect was contacting parents and students via text messages. He says it's not clear how many people have received messages, but it's around 15 or 20 at this time.
Chief Peters says if you receive a text message from a number you don't recognize, do not engage in conversation. Instead, Chief Peters asks you to call the Columbia Falls Police Department or your local law enforcement agency. Stay tuned to NBC Montana for the latest on this developing situation.
"Our law enforcement agencies are remaining vigilant, proactive, and investigating each of these threats as leads," Peters said in a press release. "As I stated before, this community is strong and resilient and will not let this person paralyze our community with his digital threats. Stay strong Columbia Falls we will get through this together."
Meanwhile, Sheriff Curry says in a separate press release that his negotiation team, assisted by the FBI negotiation team, have been in ongoing communication with the suspect in this case. The communication has been through written electronic means.
Curry states the suspect has taken extraordinary measures to conceal his electronic identity and location. Officials are continuing to fully investigate every local lead or person of interest and rule them out.
"We are trying to determine his exact location of where he is, but we believe we are getting closer," said Curry.
Officials are getting assistance both nationally and internationally to determine both the identity and the location, in the U.S. or internationally, of the suspect in this case. Curry says they made and continue to make progress in those efforts.
"For all the law enforcement agencies here, public safety, safety of our schools and the safety of our children, are of our paramount concern, we are doing everything to bring that person to justice," said Curry.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia Falls Police Department and the FBI are all investigating an electronic threat that was sent Wednesday to school officials in Flathead County on Wednesday night.
It is still unknown to the public the content of the electronic threat.
Further information will be released as it becomes available.