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'He's Just A Little Boy': Florida Mom Argues With Cops Arresting Her 15-Year-Old Son For Threatening To Shoot Up School

A 15-year-old was recently arrested in Ormond Beach, Florida, after making threats to shoot up his school online.


A video of the arrest, in which his mother tried to argue with officers that her son was just making a joke, has gone viral.

School shooting threat arrest 8/16/19 youtu.be

The 15-year-old, known as FalconWarrior920 on Discord, said in an online game of Minecraft:

"I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum."

Dalton Barnhart is not the teen's real name, but a pseudonym used to protect the minor's identity.

A screenshot of FalconWarrior920's statement was later posted to Discord before being sent as an anonymous tip to the FBI.

Buzzfeed

Officers would soon arrive at the teen's house, charging him with making threats to discharge a destructive device (a felony).

The Sheriff's office released a statement on social media saying:

"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."

As officers arrested the young man, his mother tried to defend him, saying:

"He's just a little kid playing a video game."

She didn't believe her son understood the full meaning of his words.

"It is a joke to them. It's a game."

But one of the arresting officers, Detective Howard, stood steadfast and told the mother:

"And all these kids keep getting arrested. That's why the FBI and the local law enforcement are spending so much time on this, because how do we know he's not going to be the kid from Parkland…that he's not going to be the next kid, the kid that shot up Sandy Hook. We don't know that."

Ultimately, however, it makes little difference whether or not the teen's comments were joking. According to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, "jokes or not, these types of comments are felonies under the law."

Howard would reiterate this sentiment during the arrest:

"So if I get on there and say 'I pledge ISIS and I'm going to blow everybody up,' that's the same charge as 'you know what man, I'm fed up and I'm going to school tomorrow and shoot up my school.'"

A spokesperson from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office confirmed to Buzzfeed that the teen's family did own a gun, though the weapon was not a M15.

The mother claimed her son did not have access to the gun, though authorities could not confirm whether or not this was true, saying:

"So he has hands and feet. He can grab your gun and go do something."

The mother responded:

"He would never do anything like that."

But the officers were unswayed.

"We don't know that."


The teen would later admit to authorities he had written the message, but continued to insist it was made as a joke. Officers are frustrated by the frequency of such threats, often made jokingly online where young people feel relatively anonymous.

Twitter was disappointed by the state of our country, where the constant threat of gun violence has pushed us to react in ways like this.




The other arresting officer, Werfel, told the teen's mother:

"This is the world we're in where kids are getting shot at school while they're trying to learn. And unfortunately we can't take risks and we can't say 'alright, we trust that this guy is not going to do it' and then it happens and then we say 'well, we had the chance to stop it.'"

Sadly some people do see the humor in joking about mass murder. The documentary 13 Families available here, tells the story of 13 families of victims from the Columbine school shooting in 1999.

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