An 18-year-old student was accused of threatening a shooting at Westbury High School. His arrest left parents on edge. Newsday TV’s Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Anthony Florio

An 18-year-old student at Westbury High School threatened in tweets to shoot up the school, Nassau authorities said Wednesday, announcing his arrest on charges of making a terroristic threat and aggravated harassment.

The student, Oketo Orlando Blair Jr. of Westbury, “expressed his desire to conduct a violent act towards students and faculty members,” the county police department said in a news release.

Details of his arrest came hours before police and officials with other Long Island districts announced that threats had been directed at two high schools and a middle school, leading to campus safety precautions Thursday. 

At least two of the tweets threatening Westbury High School, sent as replies within minutes of each other Friday evening to posts by the high school's official Twitter account, remained up as of Wednesday evening but were flagged as having violated Twitter's rules.

Blair used his Twitter account, which he had created in January on his iPhone XR, to post the messages, according to charging documents provided by the county district attorney's office.

" 'Ima shoot everyone in that school,' " one of the messages read, the documents state, explaining: " 'Ima' is common slang for I am gonna."

The profile picture on the Twitter account was identified as Blair by his father and by the school principal, David Zimbler, who is the complainant in the case, the document states.

The Old Westbury police got involved after the school administration reported the threats, the release said.

Blair, who was arrested Tuesday afternoon and released from custody Wednesday on several conditions, could not be reached for comment.

Before Blair's arraignment, a judge had issued an Extreme Risk Protection Order, under the state’s “red flag” law, prohibiting him from buying any firearm, the release said. And at his arraignment Wednesday, Blair was freed on several conditions, including that he cooperate in a psychological evaluation, be electronically monitored and attend school when in session, according to Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

In a letter sent Wednesday to school families and staff by Westbury schools, Superintendent Tahira A. DuPree Chase said: "Please be aware that the suspect will not be returning to school. The district is diligently working to make the appropriate long-term arrangements in accordance with the applicable laws."

Blair is represented by the Legal Aid Society, whose practice is not to comment to the news media.

Later Wednesday officials with Uniondale schools, Levittown schools and Riverhead police, all reported threats directed at area schools.

In Uniondale, Superintendent Monique Darrisaw-Akil emailed the schools community about a "heightened police presence" Thursday after an anonymous social media threat directed at Turtle Hook Middle School.

"We immediately opened an investigation into this matter," Darrisaw-Akil said in the email.  "I encourage you to reach out to my office or your child's building principal should you have questions about the district's emergency protocols," she said.

Nassau police said Saturday that a boy, 15, had been charged with making a terroristic threat after he allegedly "expressed his desire anonymously through social media to conduct an imminent violent act towards students and faculty members at the Turtle Hook Middle School."

The boy was arrested Friday. He was issued a court appearance ticket, police said.

At the Levittown schools, gym classes and recess were moved indoors districtwide for Thursday and Friday, and high school seniors were barred from leaving school grounds at lunchtime, after “a concerning social media post” relating to Division Avenue High School was flagged by the county’s homeland security department. Specifics weren't publicly disclosed.

Christopher Boyle, a spokesman for county executive Bruce Blakeman, referred an inquiry to the county police department’s top spokesman, Lt. Richard Lebrun, who didn't immediately return an email.

Thursday's field day events at East Broadway School in Seaford were canceled because of "increased safety protocols put in place following the concerning social media post related to Division Ave High School," said principal Jordan Margolis in a statement to the community.

Margolis did not provide specifics of the threat.

And in Riverhead, police said a 15-year-old male student at Riverhead High School faces one count of making a terroristic threat after yelling into a classroom, "I'm gonna shoot up the school." Police said the boy was unarmed when taken into custody at the high school. He was being held at a juvenile detention facility until his arraignment Thursday in Suffolk youth court, according to police, who did not release the teenager's identity.

Last week, a 16-year-old Bellport High School student was arrested and charged after allegedly making an online threat of a "mass shooting" at the school — two days after 19 students and two teachers at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school were fatally shot by an 18-year-old gunman who then killed himself.

The threats Blair allegedly posted came the same day that the Bellport student's arrest was publicized. Twitter itself was said to have worked "in tandem" with local officials in addressing the threatening tweets in Westbury, according to an earlier public letter from the superintendent. Jake Mendlinger of the district's outside public relations firm ZE Creative Communications provided copies of the letters.

"I am fully aware that our scholars, families, staff and faculty may feel some anxiety and fear. We are unwavering in our commitment to a safe, secure and nurturing school environment. We have asked for police presence at our schools for the remainder of the week to provide reassurance to our school community," the letter from DuPree Chase said. 

The letter added: "The Westbury school community is resilient, caring and supportive. We have worked as 'One Westbury' in the past and we will continue to work collaboratively to heal and build a better future for our scholars. We must continue to take care of one another, and remember that we are in this together."

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Oketo Orlando Blair Jr., based on incorrect information provided by the Nassau County Police Department.

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