Police have charged a person with making a bomb threat over a stunt streamed live on the internet from the University of Washington this week.
Jammal Hassan Harraz was arrested Thursday evening over an apparent prank broadcast live on YouTube from a classroom inside the university’s Seattle campus.
Mr. Harraz remained in jail Saturday after a judge set bail at $75,000, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office website. He’s due back in court June 5, Seattle’s KOMO News reported.
Footage originally streamed from the “Arab Andy” channel on YouTube showed the incident unfolding moments after a person later identified as Mr. Harraz entered the room and began filming with their phone.
“I didn’t recognize him, so I say are you supposed the be here,” an eyewitness told the student paper, The Daily.
Seconds later, an ominous message began playing from a speaker that police said was attached to the person streaming.
“Attention,” the audio message said. “C4 has been successfully activated. Bomb detonation countdown successfully started.”
YouTube has removed the video from the “Arab Andy” channel, but archived copies show people fleeing the room as the speaker started emitting a series of loud beeps.
Police subsequently identified Mr. Harraz as the suspect and apprehended him off campus moments later with his cellphone in hand, still streaming.
“The investigation revealed this was a prank and there was no device on him or left in the room,” University of Washington Police said afterwards. “UWPD, in collaboration with Seattle fire and Seattle police, determined there was no ongoing danger.”
The bogus bomb warning was played through the speaker after a YouTube viewer who was watching the live broadcast donated money to make it happen as part of an internet prank, Mr. Harraz told police.
Over 7,000 YouTube users have subscribed to the “Arab Andy” channel, where other videos still exist of similar stunts filmed around Seattle involving a loudspeaker and the platform’s “text-to-speech” feature.
The YouTube channel is run by a “streamer willing to do anything for some good content,” according to their online profile.