TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County deputies arrested two middle school students who allegedly threatened to shoot up a high school, according to a release.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the students, both 14 years old, made posts on Snapchat between May 11 and May 13 that threatened Bloomingdale High School.
Photos posted by the students showed various firearms with threatening statements, although deputies said the teens did not actually have access to these guns and used stock images instead.
In their threats, the students said May 15 would be the “new 9-11-01” and that they were “aiming for 14 year olds.”
According to the sheriff’s office, the teenagers said they were just posting the threats “as a joke and to be funny.”
However, the teenager’s joke failed to land, instead getting them in trouble with the sheriff’s office and the FBI. Deputies said they did not know why the teens threatened the high school because they were not students there.
“The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office takes all threats to our schools and community seriously, regardless of the intent,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who make threats, whether intended as a joke or not.”
Both teens were arrested on second-degree felony charges of a written or electronic threat to conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism.
“The arrest of these individuals should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can make threats on social media without consequences,” Chronister said. “We will not tolerate this behavior and will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure our community’s safety.”