AISD clown threat suspect turns self in after arrest warrant issued

An Austin ISD student is in jail after posing as a clown on social media. Police say he admitted to making several threats against Akins High School where he attended.     

So far, Austin ISD Police have investigated around 34 calls for service. They were all related to parents, students and staff feeling harassed, annoyed, alarmed or scared for their safety. One of those incidents led to an arrest.

17-year-old Akins High School student Noah Hollingsworth was hiding behind the Twitter account: Aaron Jackson @arnietheclown.

"If you're participating in these threats, we ask that you stop. If you think it's funny to post clown photos, mention schools, mention that you're going to be there at a certain time, or that you're watching those campuses, we ask that you stop," says Austin ISD Police Department Chief Eric Mendez.

If you're caught, Chief Mendez says you will face criminal charges. That's exactly what happened to Hollingsworth, who admitted to posing as a clown on social media and making threats.

One tweet said "I am back AKINS get ready."

Another tweet said "I'm by the portables come get some."

Photos from inside of Akins High School were posted as well.

"One may not necessarily be a direct threat but when you take the totality of all the various posts we're seeing across our school district, it's easy to see that based on your post, your sole reasoning is to instill fear," says Chief Mendez.

FOX 7 spoke with Alexandra Zavala who says she goes to Akins High with Hollingsworth.

"Nobody really took it seriously. We all kind of just joked around about it," says Alexandra. 

Alexandra's grandfather Edward has a different response. "I had no idea as I parked here, that it happened not only in Austin but it was at our school. That's kind of sad, kind of frightening."

Edward says the whole clown hysteria is no laughing matter.

"Here in Texas there's concealed carry. A lot of people do carry or have weapons in their home. There's a potential for something to happen that goes way beyond just scaring someone. It might be just a joke or a prank but a person passing by who sees a clown reaching for a small child, that person could get shot," Edward says.

A warrant for the arrest of Hollingsworth was issued on Wednesday. Shortly after, he turned himself in to the Travis County Jail.

Hollingsworth is charged with terrorist threat, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

"He's considered an adult in the state of Texas. This is something that he's going to have to work through the court process with to determine an outcome and ultimately. to determine how it's going to affect him as he continues in life," says Chief Mendez.

Other arrests could soon be made.

AISD police say there's always safety tips to remember:

  • If you walk to school, walk in groups.
  • Use busy routes that are traveled highly by vehicles and other pedestrians.
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