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Man who made threats toward Great Falls community has been arrested

Crime Watch
Chris Neff
Posted at 6:40 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 21:05:51-04

GREAT FALLS — John Christopher Neff, who allegedly made numerous threatening comments on Facebook toward the Great Falls community, has been arrested, according to the Great Falls Police Department.

Neff made the threatening comments on several Facebook pages, including those of the Great Falls Police Department, Great Falls Public Schools, and KRTV.

He was taken into custody in Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho, just after 5 p.m. on Friday, May 27th.

Prior to being arrested, Neff barricaded himself in a residence forcing a SWAT call-out.

Neff's comments indicated that he would be traveling to Great Falls.

John Christopher Neff post on Facebook

Downtown concert venue The Newberry monitored the situation throughout the day:

We at The Newberry are aware of the current online threats by an individual regarding the concert on May 31. This individual is in no way associated with either band playing that evening. The safety of our patrons and community is of highest priority. We do not condone violence of any kind and have security measures at all events. We are working with local law enforcement to resolve the issue in a timely and safe manner.

The arrest was made in coordination with the US Marshals Service, the FBI, and the Coeur D’ Alene police department.

The threats came shortly after an hours-long lockdown at CMR High School due to a perceived threat, which later was found to be unfounded - but coupled with this week's mass-murder of 21 people at an elementary school in Texas, many people were on edge and worried that Neff's threats were credible.

The GFPD provided the following information:

At approximately 9:30pm, on May 26th, the Great Falls Police Department became aware of threatening comments that were posted on the Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS) Facebook site. The comments were alarming, threatening, and a complete
disregard to the sensitive nature of threats to schools across the country.

Detectives with the GFPD, including School Resource Officers, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the United States Marshals Service (USMS), alongside staff from the GFPS worked through the night to determine if the threat was credible and if any precautions would be required during the next school day.

Officers were able to determine, with a great amount of certainty, the subject posting the comments was not in the local area. Even still, unmarked detectives from the police department and GFPS staff focused attention on our schools as students arrived on the morning of May 27th.

Using the information gathered by all involved law enforcement agencies, the Cascade County Attorney’s Office drafted emergency charging information and an arrest warrant. The Honorable Judge Kutzman signed a $1,000,000 emergency warrant for the suspect’s arrest, for Felony Intimidation.

John Christopher Neff was taken into custody in Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho just after 5pm today, May 27th. Prior to his arrest, Neff barricaded himself in a residence forcing a SWAT call out. The arrest was in coordination with the USMS, the FBI and the Coeur D’ Alene police department. Throughout the day, GFPD detectives worked tirelessly with other law enforcement agencies to make this happen.

The GFPD and the GFPS continue to take threats to our schools and our students seriously. We are aware the suspect in this case continued to post comments throughout the day. These comments were monitored and collected. As with any investigation, there are details that if made public could jeopardize the integrity of the case. In this case, officers determined there was no ‘immediate’ threat to the Great Falls Public Schools or to our community. However, the suspect indicated multiple times, with threatening language, that he planned to travel to our community. As such, the GFPD, and other law enforcement agencies, pursued this incident to the fullest.

We will update you if we get more information.