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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Third juvenile arrested in connection with social media threats against Belleview schools

A third juvenile was arrested Tuesday in connection with threats made recently via social media to commit a mass shooting at Belleview Middle School and Belleview High School.

Numerous parents contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Feb. 12 after their children reported seeing on Snapchat threats made to commit mass shootings at the two schools. During the course of the investigation, Detective Billy Burleson was able to identify the 16-year-old boy as a suspect, a report says.

The investigation revealed that the Snapchat account used to send the threats was assigned to the suspect’s phone. According to his statement, he was in possession of his phone during the time period the account was created and the messages were sent, the report says.

Under Florida law, anyone making a written threat toward a school, whether hand‐written or electronically, commits a felony. Marion County Public Schools and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office take every threat seriously and have taken a zero-tolerance stance for this type of behavior.

The juvenile was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Department of Juvenile Justice. He was charged with one felony count of writing or sending a threat to kill or injure.

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old freshman at Belleview High School became the first juvenile to be arrested in connection with the social media threats. It was also learned that the boy had made the initial report to the sheriff’s office blaming an unknown person for the post.

A 13-year-old also was arrested earlier this month in connection with the threats. He admitted to creating the social media account used to make the threats because the teacher had yelled at him in the cafeteria, a sheriff’s office report states.