The story of a teenage boy “joking” about bringing a gun to school is one every student needs to hear.
As ABC News reports, a 15-year-old boy from Florida was arrested after he told people in an online video game chat room that he was going to bring “his father’s ‘M15’ assault rifle to school and kill seven people ‘at a minimum.’
At the time, the teen was allegedly using a fake name when sending the volatile message. Nonetheless, after the message was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the tip was then forwarded to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, who tracked the teen down using the IP address.
The moment police officer arrived at the teen’s home was recorded by one of the officer’s body cams.
As the video shows, the officers were met by the boy’s mother. As ABC News reports, the mom said that there was an “old gun” inside their home, but that her son did not have access to the firearm.
The mom could be heard telling the officers that “these kids say stuff like that all the time. It is a joke to them. It’s a game.” The mother then can be heard getting emotional:
“He’s just a little boy, he didn’t do anything wrong. Yes, he’s 15 but he’s still a little boy, he’s not one of the crazy people out there doing stuff.”
After the officer responded by saying, “Well, he did what he did.” The mom added:
“Yeah, but he shouldn’t be treated as though he is a terrorist or something… I mean he’s not that person.”
The boy also admitted to making the comments, but assured the officers that “it was just a joke.” The boy was then arrested and now faces charges of threatening to discharge a destructive device—a felony charge in the state of Florida.
Shockingly, this isn’t the first time the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a student for threatening gun violence. According to Laura Williams, the sheriff’s spokeswoman, the department “arrested 18 students during the 2018-2019 school year for threatening to shoot up their school.”
Now, in a new statement, the sheriff’s office warned any other people out there who want to make “a joke” about taking a firearm to school and shooting people:
“Joke or not, these types of comments are felonies under the law. After the mass violence we’ve seen in Florida and across the country, law enforcement officers have a responsibility to investigate and charge those who choose to make these types of threatening statements.”
It’s so important for people to know that “if you hear or see something, say something.” It’s because of the people who speak up that these possible tragedies are prevented.