Online hospital threat was ‘extremely disruptive,’ Pittsburgh police say
Pittsburgh area hospital employees were justifiably afraid after an online threat was made Tuesday threatening to “commit a hate crime” at an undisclosed hospital in the city, police said.
The threat came from a teen and was traced to Beaver County, police said.
“It was extremely disruptive,” spokesman Chris Togneri said after a news conference Wednesday at Nova Place on the North Shore. “Workers were afraid for their safety.”
Pittsburgh police, along with the FBI and state police, worked through the night and into Wednesday morning to make sure the threat was contained. They also worked with the police at UPMC and Allegheny Health Network so added precautions could be put into place.
Pittsburgh Police has been on this since mid-afternoon. They are working with all hospitals & federal agencies to determine and identify. We have established coordinated operations within hours of this posting. To keep updated follow @PghPublicSafety for any possible updates. https://t.co/SPOt0NvsNh
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) September 4, 2019
We're aware of a tweet directed to an undisclosed Pittsburgh-area hospital. We're actively cooperating with federal and local law enforcement as they investigate this matter and determine whether or not the information is credible. More ⬇️. pic.twitter.com/ElnRmFgefD
— UPMC (@UPMCnews) September 4, 2019
Investigators took the threat seriously, said Pittsburgh police Commander Eric Holmes, who leads the department’s intelligence unit.
They interviewed the teen Wednesday morning but haven’t filed charges against him. Investigators determined he had no intention of following through with the online post.
“He was cooperative,” Holmes said.
Holmes wouldn’t say how old the boy is. Police previously said the threat was traced to Beaver County.
“We’re going to let the investigation take its course,” Holmes said.
The threat was made in the wake of a string of mass shootings — the latest of which left seven people dead in Odessa, Texas — that have left people anxious, Holmes said.
“People were on edge and rightfully so,” he said.
He said people in the region came forward with information about the threat soon after it was made.
“The community saw something and said something. The information helped our detectives,” Holmes said. “We take all of these threats seriously.”
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .