Mass death threat at Union

Connor John Kelley
Connor John Kelley

City Police, College swift to respond to ominous graffiti

Union College was on high alert Monday, Oct. 12, when a threatening message was found in the campus library.

The message was discovered around 4 p.m. written on the wall of the men’s bathroom of Weeks-Townsend Library. The message read, “Kill them all tonight 9:00 p.m. Student Center OOP.” The message was similar to one found earlier this month at Eastern Kentucky University’s campus in Richmond, though they appear to be unrelated.

“During the early stages of our investigation we identified five possible suspects,” explained Barbourville Police Chief Winston Tye. “After questioning a couple individuals, one boy admitted to the writing the message”

A mere three and a half hours after the message was found, Barbourville Police Officer Steve Owens arrested Connor J. Kelley, 18, a student at Union. The threat was dissolved before most of the college community were aware of the situation.

Chief Tye went on to say, “We do appreciate Union’s cooperations during the investigation.”

An official statement released from Union College said, “We became aware of a threatening message written in one of our buildings. We immediately assembled a team of personnel who, according to our policies and procedures, cooperated with the Barbourville Police Department. We were able to quickly identify and locate a person of interest who was then questioned by the local authorities. Shortly after announcing the early closure of the student center last evening, which was done as an additional precaution, we were informed by Barbourville Police that there was no danger to anyone on campus, thus prompting its reopening. The security of every member of this community is of the utmost importance. We have procedures in place to address emergencies when they arrive, and these helped us resolve this incident quickly and safely.”

Kelley was released on a $10,000 cash bond early Tuesday morning. He is scheduled to appear before a judge in district court Thursday, Oct. 15.