It began Monday morning (Dec. 2) when the two boys were at Flagler Palm Coast High School, having a conversation by way of Instagram and arguing about NFL teams.
One boy is 16. The other is 15. Somehow the argument became hostile and offensive, particularly as the older boy started insulting the younger boy over his size, telling him he should go to a fitness club.
It got worse after that. “Well I mean you piss me off I will put you in a grave bitch, I will go to your house beat the fuck outta you and your parents and make your life hell,” the 16-year-old boy wrote, according to his arrest report, “so back off because there is nothing holding me back right now from getting a knife and putting it up to your throat bitch.” The message goes on to make more vile and insults about the boy and his parents.
The younger boy gave his address to the older boy and told him they could fight the next day. The younger boy subsequently told authorities that at first he didn’t think the threats were credible. He didn’t want to pursue charges. He changed his mind after reading the quote.
The younger boy’s guardian, too, did not wish to pursue charges, hoping instead to sit down with the older boy’s parents and school officials to discuss the incident.
Erin Davis, the dean at Flagler Palm Coast High School, had been alerted to the Instagram item. She passed a screen shot of the offending quote to a sheriff’s deputy.
A deputy made contact with the older boy at his home on Tuesday. (The boy was alone at the home, so the deputy contacted his father and waited until he was present to conduct the interview; the father gave permission for the interview.) The boy said he’d been “emotional due to a family crisis that took place over Thanksgiving,” according to a sheriff’s incident report. On Dec. 2, he said, the younger boy approached him at school and started “harassing” him, then continued to do so through Instagram.
The older boy admitted to sending the message under his Instagram handle, saying he’d felt antagonized by the other boy after that “minor verbal altercation,” but that he did not mean the threat he’d written. He said that because of the crisis he’d experienced, “he acted out of anger.” He declined to write a statement at the time, and was arrested.
The boy faces a charge of written threats to kill or injure, a second-degree felony. Such charges and arrests have become almost routine, occurring every few weeks.
“A disagreement over NFL teams should never lead to threatening to kill someone else,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “It is time that children know that there are consequences to their actions and what they say on social media is permanent. We have a zero tolerance policy for threats in Flagler County. Parents, I again implore you to talk to your children.”