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Oxford student arrested for threat to shoot up campus


OXFORD - An Oxford College sophomore was arrested after threatening on social media to "shoot up" campus Saturday night.

Emily Hikari Sakamoto, 21, was arrested and booked into the Newton County jail Sunday afternoon. She was charged with felony terroristic threats and acts and is reportedly still in jail as of Monday afternoon, facing a $1,500 bond.

A message posted on Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging service, said "I'm shooting up the school. Tomorrow. Stay in your rooms. The ones on the quad are the ones who will go first." 

According Emory Police reports, several Oxford College students saw the message and called 911. Emory campus officers spoke to students at Oxford College Sunday shortly after midnight. The students described seeing the message and taking a screen shot of it before the user deleted it a short time later.

According to the police report, one student "advised me that he was on an app called YikYak when he came across what he believes is a threat to Oxford College."

Although the message did not name Emory or Oxford, the app posts messages within a certain distance of the readers, who were Oxford College students. 

Officers located Sakamoto on Sunday around 4:55 p.m. "She admitted to placing the posting on YikYak," wrote Officer John Harper.

Sakamoto, who attended a private school, Sewickley Academy in Sewickley, Penn. as Class of 2013, was on the Oxford College Merit List for having a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the Fall 2014 semester. 

A message reportedly sent out Sunday evening by Oxford College Dean Stephen Bowen to students, faculty and staff, said: 

"Late last night a message on social media said the writer intended indiscriminate acts of violence toward persons on the Oxford College campus. The message was on the web site only a few minutes but several Oxford students saw it and one of them called 911. Emory police responded immediately. Additional officers were sent to the Oxford campus and work began to identify the person sending the message. At this time a sophomore student has confessed to sending the message and has been arrested. She is currently in the Newton County jail pending charging tomorrow.

"Emory University is committed to providing a safe environment for all community members and will take swift and appropriate action to maintain the security of the campus community. In particular, Oxford’s emergency response team has been on top of this incident since the 911 call and we can thank them for seeing the incident trough to this conclusion."

A statement from Emory University on the incident said, "Emory University Police arrested an Oxford College student on Sunday, Oct. 11, and charged her with making terrorist threats against the university as a result of a social media message that she posted early Sunday morning. Emory University is committed to providing a safe environment for all community members and will take swift and appropriate action to maintain the security of the campus community."

The threat came a little more than a week after the deadly shooting at a community college campus in Oregon.

Some messages posted on Yik Yak in reaction included: 

"Remember Oxford! Always be you. Unless 'you' is some jerk who makes threats on yikyak, in that case you should probably tone it down."

"there was an actual shooting last week in Oregon at a college of the same size, we have every reason to freak out."

"The fact that we found out about this on yik-yak and admin hasn't said anything really makes me mad"


"So Yik Yak isn't really anonymous after all..."