Manhunt in Mesa for clown making school threats

Posted at 7:42 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 09:47:35-04

Mesa schools were on high alert after getting several threats from people posing as "clowns". It's a disturbing nationwide trend that is now hitting too close to home.

Monika Hovland said she was extremely concerned after reading some of the threats. Also uneasy after learning students at Red Mountain High School were getting messages and threats from the clown on their personal cell phones.

The threats started coming into several schools earlier this week. Hovland said at first she thought it was a joke.

On Thursday, the clown, whose social media name was listed as "Ain't Clowning' Around", sent out a threat on the Red Mountain High School social media page that said, "We will be at high schools this Friday to either kidnap students or kill teachers going to their cars... #WeNotClowninAround."

Then a picture popped up of a person in black wearing a clown mask and standing on a dark street. The post from "Let's Play" said, "Ready to play Red Mountain Kids?"

Several students got private text messages that said, "Hey you ready to play?"  and "I'm a clown ready to kill you at rm."

It went on to get personal, naming the school principal in one of the texts.

"I told Mr. Ryan if he locked down rm I would clown him."

Hovland said the threats were disturbing and she wanted to keep her kids at home, but also wanted them to be brave and not fear something like this.

The school principal sent a message to the Red Mountain High School community on Friday morning saying they were aggressively working with police to find the culprits, and the federal authorities were also taking these threats very seriously.

Mesa police are asking parents to closely monitor their children's computer activities.