Campus police arrest student for social media threat

Ryan Ashford

Andrew Henderson

Campus police arrested and charged 22-year-old Ryan Ashford of Fallon, Illinois, on Thursday.

In an email sent to all students on Friday, Capt. Dominic Ossello informed students that campus police had made an arrest on Thursday after a threatening statement was made by Ashford on social media. Ashford was arrested and charged with third-degree terroristic threatening, which is classified as a felony.

Ashford was lodged in the Warren County Regional Jail on Nov. 12 at 3:58 p.m. and released on Nov. 13 at 12:05 a.m. on a $1,000 bond, according to the Warren County Regional Jail Online Information System.

According to the email sent by Ossello, a student alerted campus police to the threat made on social media. An investigation then revealed that the post came from a telephone registered to Ashford. Ashford admitted to making the threats due to being upset and frustrated.

“We are pleased that a student brought this threat to our attention and we were able to resolve the case with an arrest,” campus police Chief Bob Deane said in the email. “We encourage anyone who notices threats, threatening behaviors or any unusual activity to report it so that we can investigate.”

On Nov. 15, Lt. Col. Kerry Hatchett sent an email to all faculty and staff providing additional information on Ashford’s arrest.

Hatchett said Ashford has been placed on interim suspension from WKU prior to a judicial conference. Hatchet said WKU Student Affairs will handle the disciplinary process. Ashford also faces misdemeanor charges in the court system and will be subject to prosecution.

Ashford is also not permitted to return to campus or participate in classes at this time.

“We encourage all faculty, staff and students to be alert and diligent in reporting any and all suspicious or threatening behavior,” Hatchett said in the email. “In this case, quick action on the part of a student and our WKU PD investigators allowed us to act in a prompt and prudent manner, and this individual does not pose a threat to the campus.”

In an email to faculty and staff, President Gary Ransdell commended campus police on their quick and effective action.

“The most important part of this situation is that a student rightfully alerted our Police to the social media post, and they acted quickly to ensure safety for the campus,” Ransdell said in the email. “All faculty, staff, and students must be diligent in reporting anything that appears threatening or unsettling to our campus safety and tranquility.”