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Police receive 911 call from 'neo nazi' claiming responsibility for HBCU bomb threats in Arkansas

Two of Little Rock’s HBCUs, Philander Smith College and Arkansas Baptist College, received bomb threats on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — According to Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., two of Little Rock’s HBCUs, Philander Smith College and Arkansas Baptist College, received bomb threats on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

According to a Little Rock Police Department report generated Tuesday morning, a suspect called 911 and told communications he was a "neo-nazi and set C-4 charges at Philander Smith College, another college nearby presumed to be Arkansas Baptist College, and a vehicle bomb in a white van at Shorter College in North Little Rock."

The report went on to state that police were unable to pinpoint the location of the caller and bomb squads did not find the bombs the suspect spoke about on the 911 call.

"Last night at about 1:30 our communications center received a bomb threat for two of the local schools. Two of the local colleges in Little Rock. With the joint investigation with Little Rock police and fire we were able to clear those facilities with any threats," said Jacob Lear-Sadowsky with Little Rock fire.

The FBI told THV 11: 

"We're aware of the series of threats to HBCU's across the country. We're working closely with Little Rock fire and police to ensure investigations are done thoroughly and deliberately."

Both colleges were closed until noon today after authorities cleared them of any threats.

"I think about what happened in the 1950's and the 1960's where you had the four little girls who lost their lives in Alabama. That wasn't a bomb threat. That was actually a bomb," said social activist, Edmond Davis. 

He says African Americans have been targets of intimidation within their own spaces for hundreds of years.

"There's 107 HBCU's which constitutes about only 3% of the total amount of students that are in college and so I think this year alone and getting back into last semester, we've had about 30% of all HBCU's under this siege. Under this attack," said Davis.

As reported by the Associated Press, at least a half-dozen historically Black universities in five states and the District of Columbia were responding to bomb threats Monday, with many of them locking down their campuses for a time.

The Little Rock Police Department and Little Rock Fire Department have been notified and are working closely with both institutions to secure their campuses.

Just to be on the safe side, entities checked with Shorter College in North Little Rock according to president, Jerome Green. 

"We are very grateful that the city of North Little Rock, the police department and the FBI were very proactive and responsive to come out and conduct a pre-emptive bomb sweep on the campus," said Green.

Philander Smith College posted on their Twitter page, confirming they received a bomb threat Tuesday morning and are working with authorities to ensure campus safety. 

While the campus was remote noon, they encouraged residential students to stay in their rooms until further notice.

According to the Associated Press, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the threats “are certainly disturbing and the White House is in touch with the interagency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership on this.”

“We’re relieved to hear that Howard and Bethune-Cookman universities have been given the all-clear and will continue to monitor these reports," Psaki said, adding that President Joe Biden is aware of the threats.

Monday's bomb scares came one day before the start of Black History Month and less than a month after a series of bomb threats were made to multiple historically Black universities on Jan. 4.

Davis says violent or not, the threats are a reminder that marginalized groups are still being targeted.

"We've come a long way from the 1950's and 60's however we have a long way to go when it comes to disturbing venues such as this," said Davis.

We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.  

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