An 11-year-old girl was booked at the Flagler County jail on two felony and a misdemeanor charge after allegedly placing a 911 call on Thursday claiming there was an ongoing shooting at Rymfire Elementary, the school she attends. She was not detained at the jail but turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The 911 call at 10:11 a.m. Thursday, in essence a form of “swatting” involving an entire school, triggered an immediate and serious law enforcement response to the school and a brief lockdown there, according to her arrest report.
The girl later claimed that a student in her class told her to call 911 and make up the story of a shooting, though she said he did not tell her to say what turned out to be somewhat detailed information to the dispatcher.
In the call, the girl identified herself as “Titus” (not her real name), that she was hearing multiple gunshots, that she was in “Mr. Fox’s room” (she was not: her classroom was across the way), and that no one in the classroom was hurt, but that she could still hear shots coming from “downstairs.” When the dispatcher asked the girl to put her teacher on the phone, the girl hung up.
The teacher the girl had referred to of course reported nothing out of the ordinary in his classroom, nor did anyone else on campus.
A deputy tried 25 times to call the cell number that had registered at the 911 center, but either it would go to voice mail or it would be answered with a hang-up. When Assistant Principal Doug Glasco added the phone number to his SnapChat account, it connected to a certain child. Glasco had the registrar’s office run the same through the district’s database. It proved to be a student at Flagler Palm Coast High School. That student had two siblings at Rymfire. One of them turned out to be the girl who placed the 911 call: her phone rang when, in the principal’s office, a deputy or an administrator placed a call to it.
Her mother was contacted and summoned to the school, but in the initial deputy interview of the girl in her mother’s presence, her mother got too upset as the girl was being evasive. Her mother left the room. At that point the girl became more cooperative, describing the incident.
“This student learned the hard way that we do not tolerate false reports, especially of an active shoot on a school campus,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release. “Here is a great example to the youth that threats are not a joke, and pranking law enforcement is a crime. We take all threats very seriously and they will not be tolerated. This fake call required multiple deputies to respond to the school taking deputies away from responding to other calls. Parents please talk to your children about making threats and be the Sheriff in your home. Threats are not a joke and making one will get you arrested.”
The girl faces charges of making a false report of a bomb, misuse of the 911 system and interfering with a school function.