Florida Teens Arrested, School Shooting Plot Thwarted through Text Messages
In a potentially tragic incident averted, three teenagers from Florida were arrested after their text messages exposed their plans to carry out a school shooting. The suspects had identified potential targets and had acquired aerial photos of the campus to map out their sinister plot.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office revealed that text messages exchanged by the boys contained the identities of students they intended to target at Creekside High School, located in a Jacksonville suburb. These messages included photos of the intended targets, their class schedules, and even home addresses. Additionally, the suspects shared aerial photographs of the high school as part of their planning.
The three students, two 14-year-old boys, and one 15-year-old boy, were arrested and each charged with two felony counts related to their written threats and the unlawful use of communication devices. To protect their identities, USA TODAY does not disclose the names of juveniles charged with crimes.
Sheriff Rob Hardwick of St. Johns County emphasized the importance of children’s safety and commended the deputies for acting swiftly to prevent a potential tragedy.
The incident took a disturbing turn as it was revealed that the students, who had been victims of bullying, formed a group referred to as the “United Boyopolis Socialist Republic,” described in arrest reports as a “Russian communist group.” They designed a logo and recruited other members, and their conversations took a dark turn when they began planning an attack on the school, discussing the use of weapons.
One text exchange included a “hit list” of students they wanted to hurt and a “lethal hit list” of students they intended to kill. They even made alarming comments like “I’m nothing without a weapon” and “I’m bringing my AK-47 tomorrow.”
It is crucial to note that these conversations were taken seriously, with the students emphasizing that their plan “was not a joke.” A concerned member of the group chat reported the threats to school officials, leading to the involvement of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation is ongoing, and it remains unclear whether the teenagers had access to the weapons they discussed. All three students have been suspended, and potential expulsion from school is being considered.
This foiled plot comes at a time when school shootings have been on the rise across the United States. In Jacksonville, gun violence has also been a significant concern, with recent incidents resulting in multiple injuries and deaths. The tragedy underscores the importance of vigilance and reporting concerning behavior to prevent such acts of violence in our schools.