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Suspicion of Individual With Weapon Triggers Code Orange At Matanzas High School

| March 9, 2016

matanzas high code orange

Code Orange was declared shortly after 1 p.m.

Last Updated: 4:44 p.m.

Matanzas High School went on Code Orange security status shortly after 1 p.m. today, restricting students indoors and in their classrooms, after a school official suspected that a student may have been seen with a weapon. The emergency was lifted at 3 p.m., and no weapon was found.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office responded with 25 deputies, with the incident focused on Building 6 at the north end of the school, and more particularly in a boys’ bathroom in that building. The Florida Highway Patrol sent more than a dozen troopers, many of whom had been in the region on special enforcement assignments unrelated to the Matanzas emergency, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has its own police force, sent half a dozen officers.

“We had a force of probably close to 40 or maybe a little more than 40 on scene,” Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s chief spokesman, said in a wrap-up of the incident at 4:30 p.m. The reason for the large response: “Earlier information prompted us to believe that the individual may be on campus.”

That turned out not to be the case. While a suspect was not identified by name, the sheriff’s office is now looking for a man, or a boy, believed to be a student at the school, who is 6 feet tall, with long, straight blond hair, and who was wearing a brown hoodie at the time of the incident.

The way the incident unfolded was this: A student was in a bathroom, that student saw the student with what he believed to be a handgun. The student contacted a member of the faculty–a dean–who contacted administration, which contacted the sheriff’s office, initiating the response.

“So far what we’re hearing, it sounds very legitimate, we have no indication that this young person is making anything up,” Troiano said of the student who alerted officials.

Two sheriff’s deputies were at the school on an unrelated matter (including the school’s School Resource Deputy).

“They immediately went into action, and we then dispatched other units,” Troiano said.

Code Orange was declared. Nobody was allowed to leave the campus until a proper search was conducted. The common areas were searched, so were several bathrooms and several classrooms, Troiano said. Scores of parents began waiting outside the school to pick up their children. Rumors flew. Parents got upset, some of them crying and believing, inaccurately, that there had been a shooting and that people were hurt. Troiano at one point held successive group meetings with parents outside the school to calm matters and provide the more accurate information. “I have a daughter that goes to that school, it’s trying as a parent and I absolutely feel for those parents that were out there,” he said. Sheriff Jim Manfre also arrived at the scene and spoke with parents.

“There is no threat that we know of at this time,” he said to media, and to parents. There’s been no violence, and “no threat that has occurred.”

Students were cleared for dismissal just before 3 p.m., according to a school release, but Troiano subsequently said buses only were cleared for release, but not car riders yet. He said some 200 cars were at the school, waiting to pick up students (at 3:15 p.m.), as were numerous units of the Florida Highway Patrol, the sheriff’s office, and even the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has its own policing force.

Once cleared for release, students were escorted to their buses by armed law enforcement, most of them with long guns or shotguns. Even students who rode bicycles were escorted to their bikes, as were students in the car rider line, who were escorted from classrooms to vehicles. That was done to minimize the number of students wandering around the school, and to ensure their safety.

Code Orange is one security level short of the more serious Code Red. Code Orange, according to the district’s definition, means that there are no outdoor activities, no class changes, and the perimeter of the campus has to be secured.

Jason Wheeler, a spokesman for the school district, confirmed the Code Orange after 1:30 p.m. (The call to the dispatch center was issued at 1:08 p.m.) Shortly after 2 p.m., he issued a release that stated: “This afternoon a student at Matanzas High Schools reported they thought they saw the reflection of another student holding what appeared to be weapon in a restroom mirror. That student reported the incident to a school administrator and the campus’ security status was immediately placed on code ‘orange.'”

Superintendent Jacob Oliva, who was on his way to the school at 3 p.m., and Sheriff Jim Manfre, scheduled a 4 p.m. news conference at the school. “We’re just going to go over the facts of what happened today,” Oliva said in an interview soon after students had been dismissed. (A sheriff’s tweet at 3:23 p.m., however, said the news conference was cancelled, and that a media release would follow.)

The person or suspect involved in the incident was was not on campus at the time of dismissal, and no weapon was found at the school, nor has it been confirmed that a weapon was, in fact, on campus, Oliva said, but he said sheriff’s deputies are pursuing the case.

Oliva said a student was identified as a suspect, but Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s spokesperson, said “there is no identified student,” nor was he aware of deputies in the community seeking out an individual student. The student was identified as a person of interest at one point. Deputies went to the student’s house and were able to confirm that the students had not been on campus at the time of the incident. But the student allegedly involved in the incident is still being sought.

Oliva said this was a case of “follows along with the message we’ve given the students and with the sheriff’s office, if you see something, say something. This is a great example.”

“At this point there’s not been any determination that there was an actual weapon on campus. There’s been nothing to substantiate that,”
he said. Deputies “went through every classroom.”

Surveillance footage was reviewed by deputies, Troiano said.

As for the fate of the student, or suspected student, should that student be apprehended, that, too, is not certain, given the murkiness of the circumstances. “Any time we have discipline issues we look at it on a case by case basis, there is no one answer to any one incident, but weapons on campus will not be tolerated,” Oliva said.

After-school activities were allowed to resume when the all-clear signal went out, after the students had boarded their buses and their vehicles.

On Thursday, students at Matanzas will notice a stronger law enforcement presence, Troiano said. The investigation is continuing. It could have been a fake gun, it could have been a real gun, he said. “We can’t tell you today that it wasn’t a real gun. We’re treating it as a real gun.”

matanzas emergency

Parents picking up students at Matanzas after 3 p.m. today. (FCSO)

Debriefing after the incident near the entrance to Manatzas High School. (FCSO)

Debriefing after the incident near the entrance to Manatzas High School. (FCSO)

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42 Responses for “Suspicion of Individual With Weapon Triggers Code Orange At Matanzas High School”

  1. Former Student says:

    This is a fucking joke. Excuse my language. All you “parents” need to make a collective effort to whoop your kids asses more often and teach them the difference between wrong and right. When I went to this school in the past few years I saw kids selling drugs out of lockers, smoking in bathrooms, tazers being implemented in schools after a student beat the ever loving shit out of the resource officer and multiple teachers, and multiple fights over stupid shit. Again, where are the parents? You’re doing a terrible job. This should not be happening. Wake up. If your kid pulls some shit like fighting rather than “oh no iPhone for a week”, send their ass to a boot camp. Honestly.

  2. Former Student says:

    Tying in with my other comment, explain to me why y’all are so willing to give your kid a brand new top of the line smartphone and a million and one other things but can’t take the time to make sure they don’t get into drugs and drinking and sex before the age of 18? The quality of parenting in this county really makes me wonder.

  3. Rediculous says:

    I LOVE how NONE of the school’s websites, admin, or EOC have ANY code status listed. I’m guessing they don’t want a bunch of calls, but where did those extra funds & planning go?? Should be SAYS:

    “The District will post information as needed through the District’s website:” but NOTHING. not even on FB.

    It’s been an hour. Twitter post just now of status (hour later). Would have been great to know, since I have grandkids in 2 diff high schools, before waiting in line.

  4. Former Student says:

    Matanzas is notorious for being a literal cesspool.. Why? Poor parenting by snobby upper middle (and upper) class citizens who are too busy buying their kids brand new Audis at 16 to actually parent them right.

  5. Rediculous says:

    Agree with Former Student. The PARENTS are responsible for their kids until they’re an adult. If the PARENTS were held accountable (ie jail time, fines, lose home/car, etc) they’d sure to give some tough-love.

  6. confidential says:

    Some serious whip ass needed here. No I-phone, car, TV or any other favorite gadget for 30 days and any disciplinary school to be complied to the T…no matter color/race or religion.

  7. guessing says:

    I wonder if its related to the drive by shooting in the B section last night?

  8. Buylocal says:

    Hey former student the way you are dropping the fbomb I wonder what your parents were doing

  9. Nancy N says:

    Former Student, I hope you never are a parent. Living in an atmosphere of violence does not produce healthy, happy children (and eventually adults). If you have to beat your child to “maintain control”, you’re doing something wrong.

  10. Mother who's concern too. says:

    I agree with Former student.

  11. April Kimes says:

    I agree,i wouldnt have known,had my daughter not texted me,im pissed off, this school needs to wake uo,adopt the zero tolerance policy,and stop sending the houligans to matanzas,ship tgem to gaines in st.augustine.this school does t text the parents,auto text the parents,i knkw tgey got my number. I get calls for their bulkshit on a daily basis, shame on matanzas, these are our kids, .

  12. God love us says:

    Don’t generalize, not every parents are like that.
    I can say that I am very happy the way the school and Flagler County Police Dept. deal with everything.

  13. Who is in Control? says:

    Former Student- you hit the nail on the head. Parents need to stop making excuses for wrong choices, be a parent not friend, set rules and follow through with consequences. Above all, listen to teachers who call, write and inform you of missing work, unexcused absences and unacceptable behavior instead of defending their student.

  14. FPC Student says:

    Some children are hardheaded and don’t understand so they do need an ass whooping. I’m glad my shool is only known for sluts and nt suicides and safety issues…

  15. Matanzas Student says:

    I’m a Sophomore at the school, apparently the situation was that a student (probably a Freshman) saw a reflection in the school bathroom of a student holding a gun.

    What we did during the 1 hour wait was just play Kahoots, some of the class-mates including myself taught the class the Chinese and Russian alphabet-we played Hangman too.

  16. Missy Allen says:

    Don’t jump to conclusions. It was probably a student who thought they saw something and really didn’t.

  17. Andrea says:

    what drive by shooting last night in B section ,what street do you know. I didnt see anything about this online or even the news…

  18. Sophomore in Matanzas, who went through 4 hours of this hell. says:

    Yeah this started at 1:07, there was 40 cop cars, but let me say something.
    don’t even tell someone not to be a parent UNLESS you’ve gone to Matanzas high.
    There’s so much BAD in that school. There’s drugs, alcohol and stuff.
    We couldn’t even leave for the bathroom. For four hours. ( because half of us didn’t get to leave till four ish.)
    In this world there will be violence and gore, sex and drugs but honestly, you should raise your kids to not play with guns and drugs, ect.
    But never tell someone they shouldn’t be a parent because they don’t want their kid doing this to schools.
    Yes, please go ahead and tell me I’m wrong because I’m a sophomore and I don’t know the real world yet.
    I do because I’ve had parents who taught me about the world, and raised me by not spoiling me with stuff when I did bad stuff, and well by that I’m damn sure I won’t be a kid like this.

  19. Senior@ Matanzas says:

    What are you even talking about everyone could have left at 3:30 at most and even then when the bus riders were released we could have used the bathroom and FPC is absolute shit compared to this every high school has sex drugs and alcohol it’s a high school for gods sake it’s really not that ‘bad’ of a school if you think this is bad sweetheart try going to FPC

  20. Sophomore at Matanzas says:

    Everyone is saying that this is a joke and not not a joke to be honest i don’t know what it was but today was scary for me this never happened and when i was in my classroom at first i thought it was one of those drills and everything but I realized it wasn’t and i was scared. I was in my classroom and after like 20 min sitting there i heard banging on my classroom door and it scared me more but anyways it was at least 4 cops that barged in when my teacher opened the door and said get down get down i was crying and my friend was too and this kids was not even scared and started to laugh at all this that even if it is a treat if it is true or not you never know till something or someone find out the real truth but when i saw him i was so surprised he was laughing and everything…. it got me so mad!!! like who doesn’t take something so serous

  21. Joe says:

    I remember lots of sex drugs and weapons when I went to buddy Taylor which was then called Belle Terre middle school , I think it’s always been like this , no matter which school or what year. It’s just how it is.

  22. Sophomore in Matanzas says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve been to FPC, but there’s worse schools out there that I’ve been to. And Matanzas is pretty bad. doesn’t have the best people and if you haven’t realize but there’s the bad kids from FPC coming here to the ” better school.”
    Also, not all of us were released at 3:30, sorry to say.
    And I wasn’t saying that other schools haven’t had sex drugs or alcohol. I was saying to parents or to future parents to learn to keep their kids away from that shit, or at least talk to them and keep them away from guns so this doesn’t happen. So unless you want this happen and your kid to be the school shooter, than please, let your kids do whatever the hell they want.
    There will ALWAYS be violence in this world but you should try your best to make better people in this world so then there will be LESS of the violence.

  23. student says:

    this was so scary like omg i was scared so much

  24. Mhs student says:

    You shouldn’t have to touch your kids to teach them a lesson. Maybe disappointment from your parents is enough to punish your kid. There shouldn’t really be any comparison to any school in this county because at least one bad thing has happened in each school. Laying a hand on a kid shouldn’t be necessary, although most people would have to disagree, think about it. There is much more ways to help your kid rather than beating them senseless.

  25. Junior at Matanzas says:

    Matanzas isn’t bad at all, we have rap battles instead of fights.

  26. Senior @ FPC says:

    How did FPC being a bad school get brought into a “Code orange at Matanzas” get brought into this? first of all. and second dont bash on this school until you have gone to it. the only reason people see matanzas as a bad school is because of what has happened within the last few years. (how many suicides? how many threats?) But until you have gone to that school dont say anything bad about it. And I do agree with “Former Student” if these parents would actually teach these kids that if they do certain things they will have consequences than maybe we wouldnt have all of these psycho kids/people in Palm Coast.

  27. Concerned Mom says:

    Food for thought. My daughter texted me that she was on lockdown at 1:15 ish. She didn’t know they wouldn’t release her. I pulled up outside the school and watched cop car after cop car pull in. 46 cops for a possible weapon seems a bit much, especially when there has been no threat of violence. I watched State Troppers put on vests and pull out rifles from their SUV’s and march into the school after 2:15pm. An hour after the school was put on lockdown. My child had officers come into her classroom and tell her to put her hands up at gun point. She was told to prepare her self with items to throw at a gunman if one came in the room. I was unable to get to my child until 4pm, and I was parked outside. No phone call from the school on my phone until after 5pm. I am all for protecting our children, but when are we going to realize that this may have been a little too far. My child is more traumatized by the gun pointed at her from law enforcement than any “threat” that may or may not have been at the school today.

  28. Former student says:

    All matanzas is now is a bunch of upper class teenagers whos parents couldnt care less about them and will give them whatever they ask for with out batting an eye. No one at this school has any sense of where money comes from, life struggles, or any type of accountability all they are worried about is dunkin donuts, xan and razzles its disgusting and that administration here only makes it worse. No one truly cares about the students only about their paycheck the whole school is basically ass backwards and im not surprised this kind of stuff keeps happening

  29. anonymous says:

    Beating a child in this case is not the answer. More kids now a days result to violence; how come ?

    Studies show child who are physically punished result to physical/ or aggressive ways to deal with there problems. Thus showing why there are so many FIGHTS In school. In this instance someone had a weapon on campus. Whoever it was could have a psychological issue or even issues based upon how they were raised. Children show there true form through the parents that raise them.

  30. Another Former Student says:

    There’s a pretty big difference between discipline and abuse. Spare the rod, spoil the child

  31. Jon Dopp says:

    @ Concerned Mom-
    Had a tragedy really occurred, law enforcement would have been criticized relentlessly for “allowing this to occur.” Understand, that there is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to protecting our children. The fact that this threat was taken seriously and that no punches were pulled by law enforcement in responding to this incident should be appreciated. The reason so many mass shooting incidents occur in this country is because of your very attitude……….”it wouldn’t happen here”. Just remember that violent events never happen in suburban America, until they do and we’re watching the carnage on the news. This was a near textbook response from local law enforcement, all of whom responded quickly and professionally and entered a building where there may, or may not, have been a mentally unstable child with a gun. They all put themselves between the possible threat and your children, even though most of them have children of their own at home that expect them to come home each night. To many in the public, law enforcement can never do anything right. When they do, it should be recognized. I believe a thank you is in order.

  32. Layla says:

    Discipline is not allowed anymore in the schools or at home, just ask any law enforcement officer. That is the law. This is the result.

    Answer: Home School your children and keep them safe.

  33. Real Flagler says:

    Ok, now that many of you have disrespected your school of choices. I must say that for each middle and high school only 5% of the students fall victim to criminal or defiant behavior. Yet the only time you here how wonderful each school is, is during graduations when the Principals stand and acknowledge the number of success stories. With that said, schools are and will always be like small cities, in every city you’ll find your excellent, good, average. and below standard neighbors. But just like your neighbors who have a right to live wherever they desire, all in America have a right to be educated at their school of choice. The men and women of every school have a difficult task of educating the 5% that don’t come to school to learn nor do they see the schools as an educational place, it’s their hang out for 7 hours a day. God Bless our educators.

  34. Real Flagler says:

    OH yeah and forgot to share with you!!!!! if it was possible for you to check school attendance, you’d find that those 5%ers are never absent from school unless suspended. Then those are the parents who give the schools the most grief, because they don’t want that child with them for 7 hours, go figure!!!!!!!!

  35. L G says:

    Well said Jon Dopp. And yes, a big THANK YOU to our law enforcement and also to the admins at Matanzas.

  36. Shoregal says:

    Thank You Jon Dopp you said it perfectly…. This could have been the next “National Tragedy”. Thankfully it wasn’t but was taken seriously. Its disturbing to hear that some of the students and parents weren’t taking the threat seriously.. Thank You to all the agencies involved, the school district and teachers who are there with our kids The officer is right…. defend yourselves the best you can, with what you have because by the time law enforcement can get there….well we know what happens…. Nothing is ever flawless…I’m sure there will be lessons learned and will be improved upon.

    Thank You Law Enforcement… remember nobody “likes” the cops, until you NEED them.

  37. Jack Howell, PhD says:

    You are right on the money. The old saying is that you “train like you go to war and you go to war like you train.” THE FCSO response was a textbook. SWAT and FHP knew what had to be done and did it. Thankfully, this did not have a tragic ending.

  38. MHS student says:

    I totally understand that the police officers had to search every classroom for our safety however, it had gotten to the point where they would break down the door holding inocent kids at gunpoint telling them to put there hands up. Any person would be scared if there were men screaming at you while holding huge assault riffles. Some officers even broke into classrooms yelling at kids to “shut up”. In one classroom a teacher was stacking brief cases up against the door to protect his students and as he was Holding them against the door police officers, instead of knocking, broke down the door and caused him to go flying backwards. I get that police were trying to do thier jobs and protect us but it was to the point were students were crying not becuase they were afriad of the gun threat but because they were scared of the police. Thats such a shame that people were more afraid of the people who are suposed to be protecting them rather then the threat. I would however like to say that some of the teachers would stand in front of the door ready to protect their students and put their life at risk if need be. Another thing i would like to say is yes sometimes parents are to blame but half the time parents dont know half the things that go on in their childs life. and fighting over whos school is worse or better is seriously stupid we come from the same town and the same type of kids go to each school. The only differnece is the size. Drugs, sex alcohol and violence goes on at any high school

  39. tired says:

    Seems like our public services in this county are over zealous. They disrupted half a school day on a suspicion. Every time there is a slight fender bender we have to hear a half dozen sirens in the most obnoxious fashion. The county could really save money if they cut the police force in half. There is far less crime in our community than in most, yet, our sheriffs department has how many police cars? Too much overkill.

  40. Who is in control? says:

    Scared? Isn’t that better than dead?

  41. I/M/O says:

    There is no reason to have to break down locked doors. Every school is supposed to have Master Keys to every classroom and door in the building. That is simply common sense protocol.

    Does this school have a set of Master Keys? If not do they plan on getting a set.

    As to the Teacher placing himself between his students and a possible armed person “He is a courageous and dedicated Teacher. I commend that man.

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