Social media posts suggesting there was an active shooter at the Poughkeepsie Galleria have led to the arrest of a Wappinger, New York teenager.

Back in July, social media exploded in the Hudson Valley after a few posts on a Facebook page began circulating saying there were active shooter and bomb threats at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The threats were posted in the Dutchess County Scanner Feed Facebook group on two separate occasions claiming that there were active shooter and bomb threat incidents at the Galleria.

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Shooter & Bomb Threats at Poughkeepsie Galleria

The first posted in the Facebook Group that has over 13,000 members happened on July 24th, and the second came a few days later on July 28, 2023. Both posts on the social media platform were picked up by local authorities and the town of Poughkeepsie jumped into action. On each occasion, the department dispatched officers to the galleria on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie to investigate and each time it was revealed that there was no danger to the public and that the social media posts were false according to a press release.

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Wappinger Teenager Found to be Responsible

After police deemed both threats false they began investigating who was responsible for the posts and during that investigation, the name of an 18-year-old town of Wappinger teen came up as a possible suspect. Police identified Joseph Portanova as the main suspect in posting the false threats and after investigating police said that Portanova posted the false claims intentionally in an attempt to cause public harm.


Joseph Portanova Arrested and Charged

Town of Poughkeepsie police announced the arrest of Portanova on Wednesday, October 11th, and charged him with 2 counts of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the 1st Degree, both felonies. Portanova is currently being held at the Dutchess County Jail on unrelated charges and is due to appear in the Town of Poughkeepsie Court at a later date.

Don't Believe Everything You See on Social Media

Police to the opportunity at the end of the press release to remind everyone that open social media sources don't always provide the most accurate information and if anyone is seeking accurate information they should contact their local police department.

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Gallery Credit: CJ/Google Maps

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