New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman thwarted a potential school shooter through the power of social media, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Edelman, who was the star of Super Bowl LI with his miraculous catch but missed the entire 2017 due to ACL surgery, was visiting former teammate Danny Amendola in Austin, Texas, last month when he got a direct Instagram saying: “Dude, there is a kid in your comment section says he s going to shoot up a school, i think you should alert the authority.”
The message came just weeks after the Parkland, Florida, shooting killed 17 people, so Edelman took the threat seriously. “With the emotions of what happened, and I have a kid now, I said, holy Toledo, what is going on?” he recalled in an interview with the Times this week.
His assistant, Shannen Moen, then scoured through comments on Edelman’s Instagram account — which has 1.7 million followers — until she found the message: “I’m going to shoot my school up watch the news.”
She called the police, who tracked the sender’s email and IP address to a 14-year-old in Port Huron, Michigan. When questioned, the teen admitted to sending the message. Authorities also found two rifles that belonged to his mother, police told the Times. Capt. Joseph Platzer of the Port Huron Police Department said the threat was aimed at the middle school that the boy attends in a nearby township.
The suspect was charged with making a false report of a threat of terrorism — a felony punishable with up to four years imprisonment — and remains in a juvenile-detention center.
Edelman is now trying to contact the eagle-eyed follower who alerted him of the threat to thank him.
“Thankfully, this kid said something,” said Edelman, of the person who goes by the Instagram handle jesseyi3. “We’re going to send him something, a care package, just for his work. He’s the real hero.”
Don Yee, who the NFL agent for both Edelman and Tom Brady, told ESPN: “It’s not good enough anymore to disregard comments like those as offhanded. All of us, including players, are learning together to take these kinds of things very seriously.”