Homeschooled student arrested for online threat

arrestedSHALIMAR, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018–A 12-year-old Crestview homeschooled student was charged with sending a threat to kill or do bodily injury to another student living in Hillsborough County Feb. 22.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office that a post showing a collection of guns and ammunition was sent to a teen there with the caption “Many guns to die from,” and another post stating “So you want to die?”

The posts were traced to a Crestview 12-year-old who sent them through an online school portal belonging to the Florida Cyber Charter Academy.

The defendant, who was arrested yesterday evening at his home, admitted sending the messages but said he was just trying to “be funny” and was trying to stick up for a girl who was being bullied in his class by the recipient of the threats.

Writing threats to kill or do bodily injury is a felony offense.

In a separate incident, the OCSO traced an online social media threat to a situation in New Mexico.

The threat was against Belen High School, referred as BHS.

This threat was shared on social media as a threat to Baker High School, which is incorrect.

This case is not local and is not connected to any schools in this area.

The sheriff’s office requests that people not share unconfirmed social media threats of school violence. Report them to law enforcement.

“Call law enforcement and only law enforcement,” said Sheriff Larry Ashley in a video addressing the number of incidents that have occurred in the past week since the Broward County shooting. “Do not repost or repromulgate the rumor. Until law enforcement investigates, it’s nothing more than a rumor.”

Making a threat, whether real, as a joke or trying to be released from school early, is no different than making a bomb threat or pulling the fire alarm, which puts people’s lives in danger, he said.

The consequence of this is jail.

“There are no ifs, ands or buts–you go to jail,” Ashley said. “If you cry ‘wolf,’ we will come. There’s no way to not be identified and not having a visit by law enforcement.”

The only official sources of information in these circumstances is from school administration or law enforcement, he said.

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office release

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