‘Mr. Yeah’ vandalism perpetuates PWHS rumors Print
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:27

Students ticketed for painting car, house with same named used by teen charged with making threats

    Three Port Washington High School students have been ticketed for painting the principal’s car with “Mr. Yeah,” the name used by another student who was arrested Tuesday, Oct. 24, and charged with making a confusing threat on Snapchat that lead to a rash of absences at the school later that week, authorities said Tuesday.
    The vandalization of Port High Principal Eric Burke’s car either late Friday, Oct. 27, or early Saturday, Oct. 28, fueled rumors that police arrested the wrong person for making threats on social media that sparked what authorities called “mild hysteria” resulting in more than 100 student absences at the school on Oct. 27.
    Authorities this week said the three students, ages 18, 16 and 15, ticketed for disorderly conduct for painting Burke’s car with “Mr. Yeah,” as well as “obscene” symbols, were playing off the name used by the 19-year-old Port High student accused of making the threats, but the incidents were not otherwise related.
    “They were separate incidents, but related to the threats at the high school in that they painted ‘Mr. Yeah’ on the car,” Capt. Michael Keller of the Port Washington Police Department said.
    Authorities reiterated this week that they are confident the 19-year-old they arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 24, is the person responsible for making the Snapchat threats.
    At least one of the three students ticketed for vandalizing Burke’s car — the 18-year-old — was responsible for similar vandalism just after midnight on Saturday, Oct. 28, according to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office.
    The 18-year-old and two other teenagers painted numerous phallic symbols on a Town of Port Washington house and “Mr. Yeah,” which is the name of a rap song, on a vehicle parked in the driveway, according to the sheriff’s office.
    The homeowners, who saw the three teenagers dressed in hooded sweatshirts and thought they were breaking into their home, called 911. A Port Washington police officer spotted the teenagers’ car on Highway C on the far south end of the city and stopped it.
    The vandalism occurred at the end of a week of tension at Port Washington High School that started on Monday, Oct. 23, when several students told Burke that an unknown person had created an account on Snapchat, the popular social media app that displays messages and photos for short periods of time before they disappear, under the name Mr. Yeah. The students took screenshots of the posts, which Burke described as “inappropriate and obscene.”
    In one Snapchat exchange with Mr. Yeah, who was later identified in a criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court as Port High senior Jamair D. Ungewitter, a student posted, “You literally sound like the type of person to shoot up a school,” according to the criminal complaint.
    Ungewitter responded, “I’m going to kill myself Friday night at 11:59 p.m. and the auditorium. I will before I die.”
    Keller said he believes the “and” in the post was a typo, and that Ungewitter meant to write, “I’m going to kill myself Friday night at the auditorium.”
    When the student exchanging posts with Ungewitter wrote, “That sounds like a threat,” Ungewitter responded, “It is,” the complaint states.
    Burke, who said his primary concern was the suicide threat and the fact that no one knew who Mr. Yeah was at the time, reported the Snapchat posts to police shortly after being made aware of them.
    Officers used Snapchat account and internet service provider records to track the Snapchat account to Ungewitter, who was absent Monday, Oct. 23, but in school Tuesday, Keller said. Authorities confronted him at his house Tuesday afternoon.
    “He denied any knowledge of the incident,” Keller said.
    Authorities quickly determined the threats were not legitimate, Burke said.
    “The police department doesn’t believe the threats made were credible,” he said. “And based on the police investigation, it’s my judgment there was not a real threat of suicide.
    “It was a student being inappropriate with social media.”
    On Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 25, the police department issued a press release followed shortly by an email from Burke to parents explaining the situation and informing them Ungewitter had been arrested and was being held in jail.
    But rumors spread like wildfire on social media, and by the next day Burke was scrambling to address false claims. In a second email, he informed parents that rumors claiming police had arrested the wrong person and the student who made the threats was still on the loose were false, and in response to rumors about the content of the threats he wrote, “There were no threats to students or our school.”
    Keller said officers interviewed some of the students who were posting comments about the threats on social media.
    “They admitted they didn’t know what they were talking about,” he said. “I think some kids blew this out of proportion, maybe with the idea of a three-day weekend in mind.”
    Ungewitter is charged with one misdemeanor count of sending a threatening computer message. Ozaukee Circuit Judge Sandy Williams released him from jail in lieu of a $1,000 signature bond and ordered him not to possess or use a cell phone or laptop computer and not to have contact with any public school in Ozaukee County, specifically Port High, unless he is readmitted.