Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in Florida last week after threats to commit a school shooting showed up on a video game, making him just one of more than two dozen people who have been arrested over mass shooting threats since 31 people were murdered in one weekend this month in shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
"I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum," the boy wrote using a fake name, according to a Volusia County Sheriff's Office report.
The deluge of cases comes in the wake of a directive from the FBI director earlier this month for agency offices nationwide to conduct a new threat assessment in an effort to thwart more mass shootings following the two early August attacks. The FBI said in a statement that it was concerned that US-based domestic violent extremists could become in spired by the attacks to "engage in similar acts of violence."
Deputies ended up at the home of the unidentified Florida teen on Aug. 16 after a tip to the FBI. A woman who said the boy is her son told authorities that kids say things like that all the time and that her child should not be treated like a terrorist, according to body-camera footage from the arrest.
Regardless if the comment was a joke, such threats are a felony in Florida, the sheriff's department wrote on its Facebook page. "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," the post says.
Since the Dayton and El Paso shootings, 27 people have been arrested in a similar fashion as the Florida teen.
On Aug. 4, a Tampa man called a Walmart and told an employee he would shoot up the store, according to authorities. He faces a false threat charge.
Police in Weslaco, Texas, arrested a 13-year-old boy on Aug. 7. The boy will face a charge of terroristic threat for making a social media post that prompted a Walmart to be evacuated, police said. The boy's brother brought him into the station.
A man is accused of walking into a Missouri Walmart on Aug. 8 with body armor, a handgun and a rifle. The 20-year-old, who said it was a "social experiment" and not intended to cause panic, was charged with making a terrorist threat.
A 23-year-old Las Vegas man was charged on Aug. 9 with possessing destructive devices after police found bomb-making materials in his home. The FBI says he was planning an attack at a synagogue and a gay bar.
A 26-year-old man in Winter Park, Florida was arrested on Aug. 9 after posting a threat to Facebook that people should stay away from Walmart because he was about to have his gun returned.
The next day, officers responded to a threat a man posted on social media in Harlingen, Texas. A man was arrested at his home on charges of making a terroristic threat.
On Aug. 11, a Mississippi teen was accused of making threats in the Lamar County School District, according to the district. That same day, a mother in Palm Beach County, Florida, was accused of threatening to carry out a shooting at an elementary school because her children were being moved there. The 28-year-old was charged with sending a written threat to commit bodily injury.
Authorities charged an 18-year-old Ohio man who the FBI said threatened to assault federal law enforcement officers and showed support for mass shootings online on Aug. 12. That same day, a 25-year-old Jefferson County, West Virginia, man was arrested on charges of making terroristic threats online to kill people.
On Aug. 13, a 15-year-old Minnesota girl was arrested and charged for threatening a school shooting on social media. That same day, a man was arrested in Phoenix after police say he threatened to blow up an Army recruitment center.
A tip from a citizen led Connecticut authorities and the FBI to arrest a man who expressed an interest in committing a mass shooting on Facebook and had weapons and tactical gear on Aug. 15. That same day, a 15-year-old girl was arrested in Fresno, California, for posting a photo of a Walmart gun case and the caption, "Don't come to school tomorrow."
On Aug. 16, two Mississippi juveniles were arrested in connection with threatening messages to two Tupelo schools, placing a school on partial lockdown. That same day, a Florida man was arrested and charged with threatening to commit a mass shooting after his ex-girlfriend told authorities about a set of ominous text messages from him. That same day, a 14-year-old in Arizona was arrested after online threats were made against a school. Again on Aug. 16, a Chicago man was arrested after police say he threatened to kill people at a women's reproductive health clinic on social media. Yet again on Aug. 16, a 35-year-old Maryland resident was arrested in Seattle after threatening to kill people and calling for the "extermination" of Hispanics, according to the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
On Aug. 17, an Ohio man was arrested a self-described white nationalist who police in New Middletown said threatened to shoot a Jewish community center.
A man was arrested on Aug. 18 in Reed City, Michigan, when authorities said he posted online videos making threats toward Ferris State University and other locations. That same day, an 18-year-old who Claremore, Oklahoma, police say made social media threats against police officer families was arrested.
On Aug. 19, a 38-year-old truck driver was arrested after making "credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide," the FBI said in an affidavit filed in the Southern District of Alabama.
Police in Maui arrested an 18-year-old man after a social media post claimed he intended to "shoot up a school."0comments
Finally, on Aug. 19, a 37-year-old Rapid City, South Dakota, man was arrested and charged with threatening to blow up state and federal government agencies, police said.
Photo credit: ANTHONY WALLACE / Staff / Getty
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