WILKES-BARRE – According to a criminal complaint filed inside a district magistrate’s office, a 41-year-old man is accused of sending an alarming text message about a shooting and blowing up two schools in Luzerne County.
Wilkes-Barre Police charged William Hoffman of Luzerne with a felony count of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction, as well as making terroristic threats.
According to court documents, detectives allege that Hoffman sent a text message saying “I am going to shoot up everyone I see on Watkins Street tomorrow. Initially I was going to blow up GAR and WVW but I changed my mind, so you better go the hell to school tomorrow. Signed, mysterious random psychotic killer."
Police allege that Hoffman intended to send the text message to his girlfriend’s teenage daughter, but misdialed and entered a wrong digit, sending the text message to a man in Kingston Township.
Hoffman allegedly followed up the first text message writing “Sorry that was a bad joke to the wrong number. Oops.”
The man who received the message reported it to investigators this morning.
Hoffman told Newswatch 16 that he never planned on hurting anyone as he was led away from the magistrate’s office in handcuffs.
“It was an accidental text,” said Hoffman. “This was not a joke. This was a mistake.”
Officials with the Wilkes-Barre Area School District said G.A.R. High School was evacuated as a precaution and more than 900 students and staff were released early from the scheduled half-day before holiday break.
Administrators at Wyoming Valley West School District did not return calls for comment on their response to the threat.
Hoffman was unable to post $1 million bail and is being held inside the Luzerne County Jail.