/Teens clowning around

Teens clowning around

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Lilly Casolaro

News Editor

Troy police say they know the names of the two high school boys who published threats on Facebook under the title “ClappyAndslappy DaClown.”

According to a Troy police press release on Monday, Sept. 19, “the Troy Police Department has identified the two individuals responsible for posting a live video feed on Facebook while wearing clown mask(s) and making inappropriate comments.”

A five-minute video was posted on a Facebook page under the name “ClappyAndslappy DaClown” on Saturday, Sept. 17.  The video features two creepy clowns holding a knife and posing threats to the residents of Troy.

The “clowns” are two juvenile males who attend Charles Henderson High School, police said.

“We (the department) have interviewed the teens who have admitted to the posts and intended for the video to be funny and posted as a prank,” the release said.

A post was made on the “ClappyAndslappy DaClown” Facebook page Monday afternoon by the Troy Police Department Detective Division, saying that “this page will be deleted in a matter of hours … get the word out that there is no danger from clowns in our city.”

The press release confirmed that the police department did, in fact, take over the Facebook page.

Police dispatchers received calls from university students, their parents and Troy residents once word began to spread.

“They’re (parents are) concerned, but we’ve been able to explain the situation and reassure them their children are safe,” Troy Police Chief Randall Barr said, quoted in The Messenger.

According to the police press release, no direct threats have been made to the local school systems.

“Although we have not received any threats directed at any of our schools, the Troy Police Department is working closely with our local schools and Troy University to make sure that our campuses and our children are safe,” the release said.

Troy police are still investigating the case, and no charges had been filed by Wednesday.

Matt Mosely, a junior biomedical sciences major from Chipley, Florida, and a resident assistant in Newman Center 100, was on duty this weekend when he heard of the clown craze.

He said some residents were panicked after watching the video.

“We had a number of residents that came here from other buildings to stay the night with friends, and we had a number of our residents that left to go to other buildings to stay with friends because they were kind of in a state of panic about it,” Mosely said.  “We did our best to calm them (residents) down … and we did suggest to them, without actually saying what we were referring to, that they keep more of an eye out than they normally would.”

Mosely sent out a text message to residents saying: “Newman Center 100: Please travel in groups tonight. If you see anything out of the ordinary, contact one of us or university police if necessary. Thanks!!”

He said that by this point, most residents were already aware of the clowns, but he and other staff members did not want to cause more alarm than necessary.

Mosely and other staff reassured residents and provided information.

“My job was to calm them down and ease their worries and remind them that all residence halls require a key fob to enter the building,” Mosely said.

He and his co-workers had been in communication with a professional staff member from the Housing Department who suggested that resident assistants ensure that they keep outside and inside doors locked and being cautious of non-residents being let into the building.

“ClappyAndslappy DaClown” may have been piggy-backing off similar local and national clown sightings.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Flomaton High School was put on lockdown for several hours as Flomaton and Escambia County officers investigated possible threats identified from the Facebook accounts of “Flomo Klown” and “Shoota Cllown.”

On Thursday, Sept. 15, cryptic Flomo Klown postings on Facebook led to campus lockdowns in Escambia County northeast of Mobile.

Flomo Klown is a Facebook account with menacing masked clowns, blood and other violent images claiming that “I kill people for a living.” The page was supposedly started by Flomaton residents.

Makayla Smith, a 22-year-old woman from Flomaton, was arrested along with two juveniles on Friday, Sept. 16, due to their involvement in connection with the Flomo Klown incident, according to a press release from the Escambia County sheriff’s office, which said that Smith made a terroristic threat.

There have been other clown incidents in Alabama and surrounding states, including additional state universities.

A notice was sent out by Auburn University Public Safety on Monday, Sept. 19, that said people dressed as clowns had been reported.

“On Monday evening the university and Auburn Police Division received a few reports of people dressed in clown costumes on campus.  There were also several social media posts that suggested the same,” the release said.

According to the release, there was no threat or danger to the campus.

“We are not aware of any danger or threat to our campus community. The safety of our students, employees and visitors is our priority and we will continue to do everything possible to keep our campus safe.”

The University of Alabama’s Twitter account released on Tuesday, Sept. 20, that the campus was not on lockdown.

“Reports of clowns or any immediate credible threats on the UA campus are not true. These are unsubstantiated rumors,“ the university said.

Troy police request that any suspicious behavior be reported, especially involving “someone dressed as a clown or wearing a clown mask.”