An 8th grade student at Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of threatening to conduct a school shooting in messages that he posted on Snapchat.
On Thursday, a student at Horizon Academy contacted MCSO to report that another student, identified as 13-year-old Rowan Thomas Callahan-Nesler, had posted photos of firearms in a group chat on the Snapchat app.
According to MCSO, the photos that were posted by Callahan-Nesler had a caption stating, “Which one for Friday?” Other individuals in the group chat stated that they were not going to school on Friday due to the threats. Callahan-Nesler responded in the group chat by stating, “I’ll bring an AK instead if you don’t like the 1911s.”
In the group chat, Callahan-Nesler asked the other students to show the photos to a specific female teacher. He then stated, “Tell her I’m gonna be there for her.”
Deputies rushed to Callahan-Nesler’s residence and made contact with him and his mother. During an interview, Callahan-Nesler denied sending the photos of the firearms. However, when his mother was shown the photos, she confirmed that the firearms belonged to them.
MCSO determined that the firearms in the photos were C02 BB guns, though the sheriff’s office noted that they were replicas of real handguns and looked “nearly identical to real handguns.”
According to MCSO, Callahan-Nesler later admitted that he sent the messages and photos, and he claimed he had sent them “for fun.”
Callahan-Nesler was arrested, taken to Marion County Jail, and he was later transported to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice for further processing. He is being charged with making electronic threats to conduct a mass shooting.
“Parents, Snapchat was not an app created for children,” stated Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods. “However, they have convinced parents to let them on the app, because ‘all their friends have it’ or they want to use the filters. Whatever the reason, this app is not a place for children. This student put fear into his fellow students because of what he was posting on this app. We are grateful that more than one called in to report it.”
“I want to remind everyone, the law is clear,” added Sheriff Woods. “If you make a social media post that people reasonably interpret as a threat to commit a mass shooting or to kill or harm another person, you should expect to be arrested. I will not tolerate my young citizens being fearful of going to school because you want to send threatening messages for ‘fun’ on Snapchat.”