Last Updated: 10:12 a.m.
A 17-year-old Flagler Palm Coast High School student was arrested just before midnight Thursday after a Snapchat video sent under the name “Jimmy Boy,” showing ammunition and a message–“I’m ready to shoot up the school”–was detected by a county resident and traced back to the student. (See the video below.)
A sheriff’s deputy patrolling at the Flagler County fair was contacted by a woman who alerted him to the Snapchat video, of which she’d been told by a friend of her daughter’s.
The student immediately knew why a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy was contacting him by phone: “Yeah, this is about the video,” the student told the deputy. “It was a stupid joke and I took it down,” the student told the deputy. By then, however, the video had sped through innumerable accounts, distressing others.
Deputies converged on the student’s home at a duplex on Louisiana Drive in Palm Coast, where he was read his rights and further detailed how he had found the video on YouTube and decided to re-post it. He was arrested on a felony charge of “making threats to kill or do bodily harm or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism.”
The Snapchat Video
His father told authorities that the 17 year old has no access to guns or ammunition at the house. The student’s parent, according to his arrest report, “asked if he had any say in the detention processes and stated the Department of Juvenile Justice should ‘keep him.'”
During the booking process, however, the student made comments that suggested self-harm and was Baker Acted at a psychiatric facility in Daytona Beach. He will be turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice after his observation period there ends, a sheriff’s spokesperson said.
“We don’t believe there’s any threat to the school, however we are going ton have added security at all the schools today as an added security measure,” the spokesperson said.
“As we have said many times before, this is not a joke and these threats will only get you in serious trouble,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “A special thank you to the fair visitor that reported the SnapChat posting. Cell phones and social media are a part of every child’s life these days and it is more important than ever for parents to pay attention to what their children are doing online. Let them know that if they make the wrong choice, they will face serious consequences. We have a zero tolerance policy for threats in Flagler County.”
The day before, the sheriff’s office filed a charge against a 12-year-old student who pulled out a small knife during an argument with another student over a seating assignment at Buddy Taylor Middle School, ending what until then had been a nearly two-month lull in security incidents at Flagler schools.
The sheriff said claiming after the fact that the act was a joke doesn’t cut it. “Too late, you make it, you put it in print, you say it, you’re going to jail,” Staly said on WNZF radio this morning. “There’s no exception. You make those kinds of statements, we’re going to investigate it thoroughly, we’re going to arrest you.” But he stressed there was no other credible threat to the school. He said “parents need to take control of their kids and need to understand we have a zero tolerance” for such acts.
The district’s Jason Wheeler sent out a recorded phone message to FPC parents just as the school day was under way. “The threats this student was alleged to have made was not against a specific school,” he said. “But they were serious in nature.” The message thanked the sheriff’s office’s quick response and that of residents who reported the Snapchat message. “We know in times like these parents may be weary about sending their children to school. We want to assure you we are working with the sheriff’s office to provide increased presence at our schools. Additionally, our on-campus security personnel as well as our teachers and staff remain vigilant on our campuses and in our classrooms. Safety on our campuses is our main priority. We have no credible evidence that there continues to be a threat on any of our campuses.”
For all the reassurances, some students were leaving FPC this morning.
The sheriff also cautioned against such issues getting amplified on social media beyond the facts of the case. “That adds to the height and it adds to the concerns,” he said, “but I certainly understand a parent feeling concerned, they don’t want a child going to school and never seeing them again.”
The charge is a third-degree felony. The State Attorney has the option of charging a juvenile as an adult.