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Ocala
Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Two Illinois teens, one child arrested for threatening high schools in Marion County

Two teenagers and one child from Illinois have been arrested after they allegedly sent threatening messages to students at several high schools in Marion County last month.

On January 22, the Ocala Police Department was alerted to threats that were made against three local schools. According to OPD, several students from Forest, Vanguard, and North Marion high schools received text messages from an unknown number.

OPD - threatening text messages sent to three Marion County high schools on January 22, 2024.
On January 22, 2024, several students at three high schools in Marion County received threatening text messages from an unknown number. (Photo: Ocala Police Department)

In those messages, the unknown sender threatened to conduct shootings and bombings at the schools.

OPD Detective Drake headed the investigation, which led to the identification of three young suspects in Peoria, Illinois who were allegedly responsible for the threats.

Ocala police collaborated with the Peoria Police Department, and the suspects – aged 12, 13, and 14 – were interviewed and subsequently placed under arrest for their actions.

The names of the juvenile suspects were not released by Ocala police.

“We are grateful for the cooperation of Peoria Police and the great investigative work done by Det. Drake!” stated the Ocala Police Department in a social media post on Friday.

OPD added that school safety is a top priority for the agency, and these types of threats are always taken “very seriously.”

If anyone ever comes across a threat like this, especially towards a school, the Ocala Police Department asks that you call law enforcement immediately.