By Jeff Lehr
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The “terrorist threat” that Keefe Rearrick is accused of issuing on his Facebook page turns out to be a variation of a military marching cadence, but Joplin police say it’s the context of his posting that makes it a crime.
Rearrick, 21, was arrested last week and charged with a felony count of making a terrorist threat after what he reportedly posted on Facebook prompted a lockout at Joplin schools.
A probable-cause affidavit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court states that the alleged threat posted on his Facebook page Sept. 28 read: “Went to the playground where all the kiddies play!!! Daisy chained my Claymores, and blew them all away!!!”
Lt. Darren Gallup said Joplin police were informed of the matter Oct. 8, but a detective did not review the material on the Facebook page until the following day. Gallup said there were additional reasons for concern both on the page and in what police were able to learn about the suspect.
“There were things on there about a gun and trying to get a gun, and talking to other people about getting a gun,” Gallup said.
He said the content of the page alone made it “imperative” that police inform C.J. Huff, Joplin schools superintendent, of the matter. But police also learned that the suspect “had done something similar in another state four or five years ago,” he said.
Gallup declined to say where the previous incident took place since it did not lead to any charge. But it was a consideration, he said, in last week’s investigation and the eventual decision to lock the doors at all the public schools in Joplin for about an hour and a half Wednesday afternoon.
Huff was first notified of the matter on Tuesday, Oct. 9, according to the affidavit. Gallup said Huff subsequently informed police that a young man roughly matching Rearrick’s description had visited a school in Joplin on Oct. 4, asking odd questions and expressing a desire to see some yearbooks.
Huff said Monday that it was his understanding that Rearrick is no longer believed to have been the visitor in question, and Gallup confirmed that police have no reason to believe he was at any of the city’s schools. But when the decision was made to lock down the schools last Wednesday, Gallup said, police had yet to eliminate Rearrick as the suspicious visitor.
Rearrick posted a $3,000 bond after his arrest and was released. The Globe’s efforts to contact him for comment on Monday were unsuccessful. Rearrick’s Facebook page identifies him as a native of Denver who graduated from the Byron Syring Delta Center in Monte Vista, Colo.
Gallup said investigators have confirmed that Rearrick is an Army veteran, which could explain his familiarity with the marching cadence. But it is the context of his use of the cadence on his Facebook page that constitutes a threat, he said.
“If two people are talking about military cadences, that’s one thing,” Gallup said. “But if you put it out there for all the public to read and interpret, that’s something different.”
The Facebook page says Rearrick currently resides in Joplin and has been working as a cook at a local restaurant. But the restaurant told the Globe that he stopped working there several months ago.
VARIOUS INTERNET SOURCES tie the Facebook posting that landed Keefe Rearrick in trouble with Joplin police to a marching cadence most commonly referred to as “Left, right, left, right, left, right, kill.”