Yet another Flagler County school student has been arrested in connection with making threats to harm another. The 14-year-old Indian Trails Middle School student made the threat in a video he recorded while holding a gun belonging to his parents. The incidents took place off campus.
It all started over rumors spreading at Indian Trails about the boy and the girl having sex. When the girl heard the rumor, she confronted the boy, 14, and slapped him.
On Thursday (Feb. 14), the boy produced a video of himself with the gun saying he was “sick of people and he was going to kill someone,” according to the description of the video provided in his arrest report. The “someone” he was referring to allegedly was the girl. He sent the video to another girl who is friends with his alleged intended victim, directing her to show it to the girl so she was clear of his intentions.
The friend showed the video to the intended victim, and both girls were afraid that the boy would follow through on his intention, according to his arrest report, because the boy lives minutes away from the girl’s house.
The incident was first reported to school staff at Indian Trails, which relayed the information to a school resource deputy. The deputy spoke to the boy who, after being given his Miranda warning, spoke to the deputy in the presence of the boy’s parents. He claimed he and the girl had been intimate at his house but that when “the rumor started to circulate around school,” the report states, the girl “got mad” and struck him twice on two separate occasions. The boy said “he was pissed off,” went home, and produced the video, which he showed the deputy.
The boy was arrested and booked at the county jail on a felony charge of making written threats to kill.
It is not clear how the boy got possession of his parents’ firearm, though a release issued by the Sheriff’s Office Friday states: ” Keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container; Keep the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or secure the firearm with a trigger lock. Never leave a firearm where a minor may have access to it.”
It is a second-degree misdemeanor, under Florida law, to leave a weapon unsecured and within reach of minors, though the law is seldom enforced.
The release, which applauds the see-something-say-something approach that helped bring this latest incident to light, mentions neither the law about securing firearms nor potential penalties for violating it. The law states: “A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined in s. 790.001, and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.”
“This has to stop,” Sheriff Rick Staly is quoted as saying in the release. “Students – violence is not the answer and will only get you in serious trouble. Parents – we have been spreading the message ‘see something, say something’ for over a year now. With cell phones and social media, it is more important than ever to pay attention to what your children are doing online, get involved in their lives, and make sure your children know right from wrong and the consequences they face if they make the wrong choice. We have a zero tolerance policy for threats in Flagler County.”
The Indian Trails-related incident is merely the latest in a long series of similar incidents and arrests of students over the past year following verbal or written threats, some allegedly made jokingly. The law does not distinguish between threats made jokingly or seriously. Earlier this week a Buddy Taylor Middle School student was arrested on a felony charge for allegedly threatening to shoot up the school while he was playing on a live, interactive video game with two friends the previous weekend. That incident also took place off campus, and was reported by the boy’s friends.