Authorities have identified the person who generated worry and some outright panic in Isla Vista last weekend with a threatening social media post. Police charged Stefan Hall, a Cal Poly student living in San Luis Obispo, with making a criminal threat, which can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony.
According to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, Hall posted a message on Yik Yak — an app that lets users anonymously create 200-character “Yaks” that are viewable within a 10-mile radius — that mentioned weapons and a reference to Isla Vista, where six UCSB students were murdered last May. Police did not disclose the exact content of the message.
Hall used the Yik Yak handle “UCSB PYSCHO” to create the post. Soon after Santa Barbara authorities were made aware of the message, rumors began spreading through the college community of an imminent shooting threat. Police increased their patrols and some UCSB dorms went on voluntary lockdown.
Citing issues with cyber-bullying and harassment on Yik-Yak’s anonymous message boards, a number of school districts around the country have taken steps to ban the app on their campuses.