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POLICE: East Texas man arrested after creating, posting 'fake news article' on social media indicating COVID-19 case at local jail

According to the Texarkana Police Department, Jimmie Hock, 39, was arrested Wednesday for creating a false alarm or report.
Credit: Texarkana Police Depatrment

TEXARKANA, Texas — A Texarkana man is behind bars after police say he created a fake news article stating a positive case of the coronavirus had been identified at the Bowie County Jail Annex.

According to the Texarkana Police Department, Jimmie Hock, 39, was arrested Wednesday for creating a false alarm or report.

Police say Hock created a fake Facebook post on Sunday that appeared to be from a legitimate news source and reported a “breaking news” story that a case of COVID-19 virus had been confirmed in the Bowie County Jail Annex. 

Credit: Texarkana Police Department

Believing that the post was real, many people in the community who saw it were alarmed. Several jail employees even said that they would not be reporting to work for fear of contracting the virus.

Investigators say they were able to identify Hock as the person who made the original post and they obtained an arrest warrant for him on Monday.

“This went far beyond a casual comment or post on social media," Chief Kevin Schutte said. "He intentionally tried to make this look like a real news story. He wanted to mislead and scare people who are already incredibly nervous about the COVID-19 virus. Given those fears right now, this was basically the same thing as someone yelling “fire” in a theater. Hopefully, this will serve as a warning to anyone else who might think of doing something like this in the future.”

Hock turned himself in and was booked into the Bi-State Jail. He was released after posting a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

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