Cardinal Newman School

A 16-year-old student was expelled from Cardinal Newman School in July and charged with making threats after racist videos were brought to authorities' attention. Seanna Adcox/Staff 

COLUMBIA — The investigation into a 16-year-old Columbia student's racist and threatening videos ended Monday with no additional arrests, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced. 

The white, former Cardinal Newman student — who's not being identified due to his age — was arrested July 17 for threatening to shoot up his school. While that short video was made May 21 and sent to 13 other teens through a group text, it wasn't discovered until after the juvenile made two other videos July 13 that a parent saw and subsequently alerted authorities.

Investigators weren't able to determine who received those later two videos that Lott said "shocked me and scared the hell out of me."

In them, the 16-year-old declares his hatred of black people, using expletives and racial slurs, and shoots at a box of what he says are Nike Jordan sneakers — “the favorite pair of shoes for a black man” — with a semi-automatic rifle and a shotgun. He and another unidentified Cardinal Newman student were ultimately expelled over those videos.   

Lott repeated Monday that neither the juvenile nor the person who recorded the video broke any state law with those hateful videos that have since gone viral, despite clearly targeting a group of people on race alone. Lott again called for a state hate crime law.   

Leon Lott closes Cardinal Newman case

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announces Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, that the investigation into a 16-year-old student's racist and threatening videos is closed. Seanna Adcox/Staff

Investigators did talk with 12 of the 13 teens who received the earlier video threatening the school. One lives outside of South Carolina, and his parents refused to let investigators talk to him. The others are all students of Richland County schools, as young as 13 years old. Lott declined to name which schools, but said their principals have been contacted.  

The case was closed a day before classes resume at Cardinal Newman, a private Catholic school for seventh- through 12th-graders.

In a letter to parents earlier this month, Principal Rob Loia said "there will be an increased presence" of Richland County deputies on the campus for the start of the 2019-20 school year. 

"There's no threat to Cardinal Newman whatsoever," Lott said. 

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Follow Seanna Adcox on Twitter at @seannaadcox_pc.

Assistant Columbia bureau chief

Adcox returned to The Post and Courier in October 2017 after 12 years covering the Statehouse for The Associated Press. She previously covered education for The P&C. She has also worked for The AP in Albany, N.Y., and for The Herald in Rock Hill.

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