When 18-year old Michael Schmitt uploaded his freestyle rap to Soundcloud on February 24, he probably thought he was staying true to what he perceived to be rap’s formula: hop on a sick beat. Scream some profanities. Compare yourself to a notorious drug lord. Yeah, this will get tons of shares, I imagine Schmitt—who lives in what BuzzFeed notes as an “overwhelmingly white, conservative town”—said to himself. But things quickly turned left when a fellow student caught wind of his scream rap track, which was accompanied by a shoutout to New Jersey’s James Caldwell High School (where he was a student) and a profile photo of him pointing a handgun at the camera.
“The alarmed student thought Schmitt’s track sounded violent and told her mom, who alerted a teacher, according to police reports,” BuzzFeed reported Monday. “School administrators called police in West Caldwell, New Jersey, around 1 p.m. to report a possible threat, and soon after, a SWAT team descended on the campus, where—although school was not in session—hundreds of people were gathered for a weekend music concert that rainy Saturday.”
The school was placed on lockdown that afternoon.
In the song, Schmitt can be heard stating, “You’re gonna get cracked on the head like an egg, bitch,” and repetitively yelling, “You can suck my dick.” While he doesn’t address any one person directly, he does say, “U lil sluts @ jchs i love u all even tho yall hurt me and i forgive u. i would never hurt u.”
“They painted me as a school shooter, and that’s terrifying,” Schmitt told BuzzFeed. “Whenever these school shootings are happening, it’s scary to me that I’m being associated with that because of this rap song.” BuzzFeed adds that he “insists he’s just a weird kid who loves hip-hop in an overwhelmingly white, conservative town,” calls all of his guy friends “sluts,” doesn’t own a gun, and had no plans of attacking the school.
Schmitt was arrested just ten days after 17 people lost their lives in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where administrators were berated via social media for not taking more precautionary measures in preventing the incident from occurring. Posts pulled from Nikolas Cruz’s social media accounts revealed disturbing details, including photos of firearms he had shared to Instagram and a promise to “kill law enforcement one day.”
“He says there wasn’t a plan, but we don’t know for certain,” Jim Devlin, JCHS principal, told BuzzFeed News. On February 28, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office held a press conference where it announced it was charging four additional individuals for allegedly making threats to schools.