Kenyatta commends citizen who reported suspicious statements in Temple University terroristic threats case

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 5 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta on Monday commended the citizen who reported hearing suspicious statements by a man later charged with terroristic threats involving Temple University.

“’If you see something, say something,’ has become a mantra of public safety experts, but it’s not always advice the general public follows,” Kenyatta said Monday. “Last week, an employee in the sporting goods department of a store heard something that did not sit right with them. That employee reported what they heard, and the store took the report seriously and passed it along to law enforcement. Thanks to that quick-thinking employee, a man who police say had made multiple purchases of ammunition, knives, small-cylinder propane bottles, and other items, has been arrested.”

According to news reports, a store employee overheard a 29-year-old man talking to another customer about the security at Temple University on July 31, while he was buying ammunition. The man was asking questions about the campus police’s response time and commenting that the customer would see him in the news in the next two weeks. A store employee overheard the conversation and reported it to a manager.

Police investigated the case and filed charges against the 29-year-old.

Temple University President Richard M. Englert said Monday that the university was immediately made aware of the situation and remains in contact with local and federal officials regarding the incident. Temple Police, Englert said, continue to closely monitor this situation and are on constant alert for any situation that might affect the safety of students, employees and neighbors.

Kenyatta said that lawmakers must take action on gun reform measures, more than two dozen of which have been introduced by his Democratic colleagues.

But, Kenyatta said, citizens have a vital role in reporting suspicious activity when they see or hear it.

“It can be uncomfortable to do the right thing,” Kenyatta said. “But doing the right thing can keep people out of danger. I’m proud of the store employee who spoke up when they overheard this conversation. It is very possible that without their action, we could have faced a tragedy, the likes of which other Americans have been subjected to, including those recently in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.”