TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A fifth-grader was arrested Saturday in Florida for threatening to conduct a mass shooting, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies were made aware of a threatening text message sent by a 10-year-old student at Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral before they turned the information over to a School Threat Enforcement Team.
Authorities said the Youth Services Criminal Investigations Division took over the case “due to the nature of the incident,” the sheriff’s office said.
“This student’s behavior is sickening, especially after the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said. “Making sure our children are safe is paramount. We will have law and order in our schools!”
Sheriff Marceno said his team of investigators did not hesitate to investigate the threat.
“Right now is not the time to act like a little delinquent. It’s not funny,” Marceno added. “This child made a fake threat, and now he’s experiencing real consequences.”
The arrest comes days after an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and opened fire on a fourth-grade classroom, killing 19 students and two teachers. Since the shooting in Uvalde, several threats against schools have been made.
In Tampa, detectives arrested an 18-year-old man after receiving a tip that he threatened a mass shooting at a school in a social media post. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Corey Anderson’s post showed him with a handgun, a rifle and a tactical-style vest and a caption that said, “Hey Siri, directions to the nearest school.” Anderson was charged Sunday with a written or electronic threat to conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism.
U.S. schools have also bolstered security in the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting. Some of the changes include making visitors ring a bell and temporarily banning large backpacks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.