A freshman at South Lake High School in Groveland has been arrested after police say he made a threat to conduct a mass shooting at the school.
The investigation started Friday when Groveland police say they were contacted by a concerned parent who learned about the threat through an Instagram post. Police say they received a similar tip via CrimeLine’s “Speak out” tips hotline.
Investigators identified the Instagram user who made the post, which was a screenshot of a text conversation between himself and the student who actually made the threatening statement.
In the conversation, dated November 10 at 5:23 p.m., the student sent a message saying “I’m finna shoot up the school on Tuesday.”
Police interviewed the Instagram user who said he did not know why the other student would say that and couldn’t tell whether or not he was serious.
The student said he took a screenshot of the conversation and put it on his social media to “get the word out” and warn others not to attend school the following week.
When asked why he didn’t tell administrators about the statement, the student said because it occurred after school when the weekend had begun and he planned to tell them when he returned to school Monday morning.
In an interview with police, the legal guardian of the student who made the threat said she was well aware of what happened and had “disciplined and yelled at” the teen for writing the threats before explaining that saying such things could “land him in serious trouble.”
In his own interview with police, the student claimed he made the threat only as a joke to his friend and wasn’t aware of how serious the situation was.
Police say the student was unable to offer a logical explanation for why he said it and later apologized.
The student, who was not identified due to his age, was charged with making written threats to kill or injure subjects via a mass shooting.
Police say no weapons were recovered from the student’s home.
In a statement announcing the arrest, Groveland police commended the actions of the people who alerted them to the threat.
“We ask parents, teachers and administrators alike to remind students to take threats like this seriously,” the statement said. “If you see something, hear something, or read something, say something.”