LA PLATA, Md. - Police have charged a man after they say he used social media to make a threat of violence against an entire Maryland town.
The message was uncovered Wednesday afternoon when La Plata Police were alerted to a post on Twitter that read, “IM NOT GONNA STAND FOR THIS NO. MORE. TONIGHT WE PURGE! KILL ALL THE WHITE PPL IN THE TOWN OF LA PLATA.”
That tweet sparked a massive police effort and the man accused of sending the tweet was tracked down and arrested.
So many people were frightened after this tweet was sent out that local law enforcement not only went after the man who posted it, but the chief of police in La Plata also called some officer in early and kept other officers to work overtime. The chief wanted to make sure there was high visibility of officers in the area to calm fears.
Officials arrested 20-year-old Carlos Anthony Hollins near his Waldorf home Wednesday night.
“There were a lot of folks calling in,” said La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner. “There was a lot of concern. Our Facebook page -- lots of information from people saying they're scared, can you tell us more.”
He said his officers and Charles County deputies immediately used technology and old fashion detective work to track Hollins.
“Some officers here were able to do a little data mining on Twitter and find out that Mr. Hollins worked at a local department store at one time,” said Chief Schinner. “From there, we were able to establish his identify.”
Meanwhile, the chief ordered his officers to local shopping centers, busy intersections and other places where residents would feel comfort knowing police were close.
Authorities found a video from a Twitter feed and the person speaking on it doesn't think the threat was a big deal. But authorities said this is no laughing matter. Just a few words can shock a community and land someone in jail.
“I think it is something we have to take serious and something we did take very seriously,” Schinner said.
Hollins’s bond was set at $250,000.
The police chief said when investigators were interviewing Hollins, he told them that the tweet was just a joke.