Sunday, May 19, 2024

Teen arrested for posting threats on the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office Instagram feed about bombing county schools

A Hillsborough County teen is facing charges after making school threats on social media.

On November 16, 2023, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) arrested 16-year-old Bryce Crocker. Crocker posted comments on the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s (PCSO) Instagram, threatening to bomb schools and claiming to have placed explosives at schools. The following comments were posted online:

– “I placed explosives set to detonate tomorrow at 3:00 in every school in the county.”

– “I’m going to firebomb every school in the county.”

– “I’m going to bomb every school in the county tomorrow.”

Screenshot from PCSO Instagram account

In less than an hour from the moment that HCSO was notified, Detectives from the HCSO School Threat Assessment and Response (STAR) squad arrived and met with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Detectives at the home of Crocker located on the 15000 block of Almond Wood Drive. Speaking with the detectives, the juvenile admitted to making the comments online. Deputies searched the home, and no bomb-making materials were found.

PCSO posted that the comments by Crocker were made on their video depicting the serious consequences of making jokes about school shootings.

“There is no scenario where this kind of comment is a joke or funny,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We take any threat of violence, especially involving our schools, very seriously. Now, this teen will face the consequences of his reckless actions.”

Bryce Crocker is now facing three counts of Written or Electronic Threat to Conduct a Mass Shooting or Act of Terrorism and one count of Unlawful Use of a Two Way Communications Device.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office did direct patrols to check local schools to ensure the safety and security of our students. Deputies found no evidence of explosives anywhere.

The School Threat Assessment and Response (STAR) squad was formed to address the need for a comprehensive response to school-based threats. The STAR squad consists of four deputies dedicated to keeping our students and faculty safe within unincorporated Hillsborough County. 

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