SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A Smith County jury found a man accused of making a school threat on social media in 2018 not guilty.
Tyler McGill, 23, was acquitted of false alarm or report Tuesday afternoon in the 241st Judicial District Court.
McGill was arrested in March 2018 for posting a video on Snapchat of himself in a vehicle. The video showed several guns inside the vehicle and was captioned “coming soon to a school near you.”
Smith County officials were notified about the post and launched an investigation.
Officials identified McGill and determined there was a Whitehouse-Troup road sign depicted in the video.
He was arrested at his girlfriend’s apartment in Tyler on March 5, 2018, and charged with making a terroristic threat to impair government/public service, which is a third degree felony.
A terroristic threat is a crime generally involving a threat to commit violence communicated with the intent to terrorize another, to cause evacuation of a building, or to cause serious public inconvenience, in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.
McGill was indicted by a Smith County grand jury in 2019 for knowingly initiating a report of a future offense involving a public school by posting the video. Authorities alleged that he knew the report was false or baseless and would ordinarily cause action by an official agency organized to deal with emergencies, namely the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.
During the trial, the testimony showed that McGill did not intend to carry out any offense, and the investigator called his actions reckless and stupid.
At the time of his arrest, Smith County officials said friends close to McGill indicated they believed he was joking when he made the post.