BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – A 16-year-old from Spring Hill is in custody, accused of taking a picture of a weapon and posting on Snapchat, along with a threat to shoot people at a Hernando County school.
The teen is charged with a felony and currently being held at the Juvenile Assessment Center in Ocala. His threat, deputies say, was aimed at Central High School in Brooksville.
Hernando detectives say the teen thought it would be funny to post the threat, saying, “Yo bruh bouta run it up at central.”
What the teen did not know at the time is that the FBI saw the post and alerted the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office immediately. Detectives found the teenager within hours and arrested him.
Deputies tell us the student, “thought it would be funny due to the hoax bomb threats last year and the hoax shooting threats this year.”
Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis told 8 on Your Side during an exclusive interview Tuesday night, “It just makes you shake your head. I don’t know what this young man was thinking. This is much like talking about hijacking or bombs at the airport You would never do that because you know everybody is going to take that very seriously.”
Indeed, they did.
The Sheriff is hoping that moms and dads out there will take note. The sheriff says if kids are caught making a threat on social media, law enforcement will not take it lightly, nor will the State Attorney’s Office, nor judges. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Law enforcement wants to send a message.
This is not a joke, the sheriff told us. Even if the threat is false, it’s a felony.
“I think many parents talk to their children about these things, but I don’t think you can do it enough,” the sheriff told 8 on your Side. “I’m a parent. I understand how serious this is. Parents want their children to be safe in school. We have zero tolerance for threats. We absolutely will not tolerate it, nor will any law enforcement agency. These deputies would take a bullet for these kids. Safety is not a joke.”
8 on your Side wanted to hear from the teen’s parents, so we went to his home in Spring Hill. However, no one answered the door.
Sheriff Nienhuis tells us the 16-year-old attends Springstead High School in Spring Hill, but the threat was aimed at Central High School in Brooksville.
The teen now faces a felony under a new law where the charge is as follows: Written threats to kill or conduct mass shooting.
The sheriff says this newly enacted law encompasses threats made on social media sites where people write their intent, then share it with others online.
It allows law enforcement to send a message to those making threats, especially when that person thinks he or she may not be caught.
“We will find them,” he said. “It’s not something we can tolerate.”
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