ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County sheriff's deputies beefed up patrols around at least five schools Thursday after violent threats against the schools and their students surfaced online.
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Investigators said one of the threats made reference to shooting up Colonial High School on Thursday. Others involved planting pipe bombs at Boone High School and Liberty Middle School.
"Our school is working closely with OPD and the Orange County Public School District Police to handle a social media concern mentioning our school," Boone High School Principal Dusty Johns said in a phone call. "Please know that our joint investigation is ongoing and thorough."
Edgewater High School and Colonial 9th Grade Center were also mentioned in some of the threats.
News 6 saw law enforcement in large numbers at the targeted school from first bell Thursday morning to when students left in the afternoon. Parents say they were nervous to drop their kids off, but confident they were in good hands.
"They gave me a sense that he will be safe," Joy Christopher, parent of a Colonial High School student said.
Orange County Sheriff's Office investigators said they want to talk to Jesus Wellington Kong, 23, about the threats.
They call him a person of interest and they're actively looking for him.
"Because it's a very serious threat in terms of what we saw and we just can't let that one go," Jeff Williamson, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.
News 6 found out Kong has a long list of aliases, and he's also been arrested in Central Florida and other areas outside of Florida several times.
According to court records, Kong has been arrested at least four times in Orange County, on charges of trespassing and petit theft.
In one case, News 6 found out the attorneys recommended having him screened for possible Baker Act criteria, which means he could have been admitted against his will for mental health issues.
"We have to take it seriously, whether there's a threat of mental issues or not," said Williamson.
Williamson said sheriff's investigators knew about the threats for weeks, and did not release any information. He said his investigative team used that time to determine there wasn't much validity to the threats.
Parents told News 6 they were upset Kong was on law enforcement's radar for weeks and they just found out about him on Wednesday.
"We need to protect our children and if we're aware, we're going to protect them. But not knowing, it's ignorance," Hope Theriot, parent of Edgewater High School students said.
Williams said deputies patrolled the targeted schools Thursday, as well as all of the other schools in the district.
"We are going to go out of our way, go above and beyond the call of duty, and we're going to respond appropriately to make sure that that happens -- that these kids are safe," he said.
Orange County Public Schools released a statement to News 6, saying, "Orange County Public Schools would like to thank our local law enforcement – Orlando Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department – who worked in conjunction with the OCPS District Police this morning to ensure the safety of our staff and students. All of our schools started on time and it has been business as usual in our classrooms. Additional resources have been made available to schools from the district as well as law enforcement and staff members have been focused on the students and their security. Administrators, School Resource Officers, and District Police have made themselves available to speak individually with parents and students of the affected schools in order to reassure them of the safe learning environment."
Kong, who also goes by Jesus Henry Kong, Jesus Matute and Jessie Eloah Calix, is described by deputies as 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds, with a mole on his left cheek and burn scars on his hand and chest. He is a transient, but appears to move between California, Virginia, Maryland and Florida.
Anyone who has information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS or local law enforcement.
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