POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Authorities say a 17-year-old gamer in Winter Haven made violent and disturbing threats online because he was jealous of other gamers getting praise and validation.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested the teenager on Wednesday after getting multiple tips regarding the threats from users on Discord, a text-chat app that allows gamers to talk to each other in real-time while they play games. We are withholding his name because he is a minor.
Among the threats, the boy allegedly told his competitors: “I’m going to kill so many people!” and “HAHAHAHAHAHA I WANT SO MANY PEOPLE TO DIE BY HAND AND THEN PLAY WITH THEIR GUTS WHILE THAY ARE STILL ALIVE!!!”
He also said: “I get pretty happy when I imagine myself being a villain going on a mass-murdering spree like in a movie as f***ed up as it sounds….”
He also made suicidal comments, authorities said.
Working with numerous communications and online companies, detectives were able to obtain the teen’s online records and found his address in Winter Haven.
During an interview, the boy admitted to making the threats after getting jealous of other gamers.
“The suspect advised that he was jealous of other members on the forum getting praise and validation. He explained that when he doesn’t receive validation, he gets in a mood where he feels like he has nothing else at the time,” the agency said in a press release. “He admitted to knowing his comments were wrong and acknowledged the threatening demeanor of the posts when they were read back to him. [The teen] acknowledged that he sometimes feels like wanting to kill others, but he would never actually act upon it because he knows it’s wrong.”
The teen was arrested Wednesday and charged with written threat to kill or injure, a felony.
Deputies said the boy had previously threatened to shoot up a school in Illinois, but he is no longer a student and has no affiliation with any schools, an affidavit states.
“We sincerely appreciate those who brought these disturbing threats to our attention. People saw or heard something, and they said something,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “I also thank those responsible companies who timely responded to our exigent legal process so that we could locate and identify [the teen] before he carried out any of his threats. We have learned from studying active shooters that in many cases there were indicators, clues, and threats that were ignored prior to their evil actions. We can’t ignore these kinds of threats anymore. We must take those who make threats at their word. These people have to be intercepted and dealt with criminally and/or provided medical and mental health services.”
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