A Florida fifth-grader, a student at Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral, Florida, was arrested this weekend for threatening a mass shooting at his school. The Lee County Sheriff’s office says that the 10-year-old boy sent a threatening text message prior to his arrest. In a video posted on Facebook, the minor was seen handcuffed and being escorted to a police vehicle. Lee County Sheriff, Carmine Marceno, tweeted about the arrest:
Lee County will have law and order. https://t.co/1kfy73YCfb
— Carmine Marceno – Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff (@SheriffLeeFL) May 29, 2022
Sheriff Marceno, who calls himself Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff, also gave a statement saying:
“This student’s behavior is sickening, especially after the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Making sure our children are safe is paramount. We will have law and order in our schools. My team didn’t hesitate one second, not one second to investigate this threat.”
Marceno posted a picture on Twitter of the Florida Sheriff flanked by deputies – some brandishing assault weapons – in what appears to be a show of force.
5TH GRADER ARRESTED FOR MAKING WRITTEN THREAT
“Right now is not the time to act like a little delinquent. It’s not funny. This child made a fake threat, and now he’s experiencing real consequences,” stated Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
— Carmine Marceno – Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff (@SheriffLeeFL) May 28, 2022
Notified of the threat on Saturday, May 26th, West Palm Beach’s WPTV 5 reported that the Lee County Sheriff’s office immediately alerted the School Threat Enforcement Team, who, after interviewing the child, found enough evidence for an arrest, charging the minor with “making a written threat to conduct a mass shooting.”
A city of about 200,000 people, Cape Coral, Florida appears to be relatively safe. However, two days after the arrest of the Patriot Elementary student, police fatally shot a man who attacked an officer with a pipe. And, in April, a woman was arrested for shooting a man in the neck, stomach, and groin. Eight days later, on April 27th, there was a drive-by shooting in a quiet Cape Coral home. One person was shot, and no arrests were made.
In the days following the Uvalde shooting, Sheriff Marceno made several statements regarding the department’s commitment to protecting the children of Lee County, Florida. Fort Meyers News-Press quoted the sheriff as saying:
“My team’s top priority is the safety of your children, and we will use whatever resources are necessary to accomplish that goal. We train more than seven times more than what is Florida State statute.”
Amy Marotta, an elementary school teacher in the neighboring city of Naples, Florida told News-Press that “school safety has long been an issue.” But having a resource officer – every South West Florida school has at least one – makes a difference. Not letting police completely off the hook, she also said that law enforcement “isn’t taking mental health seriously enough to prevent any evil.”
While all threats should be taken seriously, and handled swiftly, patting yourselves on the back for the arrest of a 10-year-old –for what was determined to be a prank; parading his face on television and social media while there are unsolved violent crimes in the city – isn’t the answer to keeping the community, or its children, safe.
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