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Boy, 16, charged after predominantly Black D.C. schools receive bomb threats

One of the schools targeted had received a threat a day earlier during a visit from second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris' husband.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visits Dunbar High School in Washington DC
Students at Dunbar High School were evacuated after a bomb threat was called in on Tuesday Feb. 8.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats after several predominantly Black schools in Washington, D.C., were targeted with bomb threats Wednesday, authorities have said.

Among the schools targeted was one that had already received a threat just a day earlier during a visit from second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

In a statement Thursday, the Metropolitan Police Department announced that the 16-year-old had been arrested. The agency said it continued to investigate the bomb threats with federal partners.

On Wednesday, police said at least eight schools had received threats, including four public high schools and four charter schools. At least some of the schools had to be evacuated, police said.

All schools were eventually “cleared with no hazardous material found,” police said. One of them did not have classes in session when the threat was made.

According to the most recent data published on the D.C. School Report Card's website, at least seven of the eight schools targeted have a predominantly Black student population.

Among them was the Dunbar High School, where Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris' husband, had to be taken to safety following a bomb threat on Tuesday. The second gentleman had been visiting the school for a Black History Month event.

Authorities said the incident at Dunbar, which is considered the first school for Black Americans in the U.S., did not appear to be targeting Emhoff. They also did not indicate that race was a factor.

The bomb threats come, however, after a string of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, were targeted with bomb threats this month, with the threats starting in the lead-up to Black History Month, with at least a dozen threats made on the first day of the month.

No explosives have been found in connection with the threats, but the FBI is investigating the matter.

Earlier this month, six "tech savvy" juveniles were identified by the FBI as persons of interest in the probe. A law enforcement official said the juveniles are suspected of having carried out the threats, which the official said appeared to have a racist motivation.

On Thursday, D.C. police said investigators had cleared H.D. Woodson High School, McKinley Tech High School, IDEA Public Charter School, Cesar Chavez Public Charter School and Cordozo Education Campus after receiving more threats.

In a statement Wednesday, Harris condemned the fresh string of threats, saying: “Americans have a right to be safe at work, in houses of worship and at school."

“We must stand up against any threat of violence in our communities," she said.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said they were "troublesome incidents that we take very seriously.”

He added that the school system would be offering support to its school communities as an investigation into the threats continues.