Lealman Innovation Academy Student Arrested For Posting School Shooting Copycat Threats On Snapchat
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, St. Petersburg Police and the Pinellas County School Police announced the arrest of a 14 year-old student that attended Lealman Innovation Academy. The school is located at 4900 28th Street North in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The student was arrested at his home on Saturday February 17, 2018 at about 6:00 p.m. The threats were placed on social media Snapchat while the suspect was at a juvenile friend’s home located in the 7700 block of 55th Street North in Pinellas Park at approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 2018
According to detectives, the suspect posted a threatening photo and statements on his Snapchat account. He specifically stated “Round 3 on Florida on Tuesday.” He quoted this while holding what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle and he indicated the shooting would occur at the Lealman Innovation Academy
On February 17, 2018 at approximately 1:15 p.m. deputies were notified after concerned citizens reported the threatening social media posts on Snapchat to the Pinellas County 911 Regional Communications Center.
Through investigative techniques, detectives were able to identify the suspect in the photograph.
Detectives contacted the student’s parents and informed them of the post on Snapchat.
Detectives then made contact with the student who immediately stated, “I know why you are here, because of the photo.”
He grabbed his phone and went to the picture section on his phone and showed detectives the photograph with the statement “Round 3 on Florida on Tuesday.”
He admitted he took the selfie photograph and made the post on his Snapchat account while spending the previous night at his juvenile friend’s house.
He told detectives he was checking his Snapchat account and saw a recent post of a white male wearing a black outfit holding a rifle. The caption on the photo read, “Round 2 on Florida tomorrow.” (This was in reference to a threatening Snapchat post in Spartanburg, South Carolina that went viral throughout the state of Florida)
He told detectives he thought the post was “messed up.” He then observed his friend’s AR-15 replica BB gun in the corner of the room, so he grabbed the gun and took a selfie of himself holding the replica AR-15 rifle.
He claimed he thought he would be “funny” and posted the photograph on his Snapchat page with the caption.
Round 1 was Douglas High School in Broward County, Round 2 in Spartanburg and Round 3 was to be Lealman Innovation Academy. The subject who posted the Snapchat regarding Round 2 has been arrested by the Spartanburg, South Carolina Police Department.
Due to the threatening nature of the Snapchat post, detectives placed him under arrest for Written Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury.
Detectives say they also recovered the AR-15 style rifle depicted in the threatening Snapchat post from his friend’s house. The AR-15 style rifle was later identified as a BB gun by detectives.
He was arrested on February 17, 2018 at approximately 6:00 p.m. for Written Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury; Electronic Communication and transported to Pinellas County Juvenile Assessment Center without incident.
Since Wednesday February 14th 2018, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has received several complaints of suspicious individuals who might be a threat to commit acts similar to what occurred in Broward County.
No other arrests have been made and they continue to investigate the complaints.
They encourage the public to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately so they can be diligently investigated.