Miami Student Arrested For Tweeting He’ll “Shoot Up This School”
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI LAKES (CBSMiami) – We are hearing an apology from the South Florida teen who reportedly threatened on Twitter to “shoot up this school this Friday”, just days after the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The teen said he “apologizes to all the people who lost their kids (in Newtown, CT.).” He said “It’s obviously been dealt with in my situation. I’ve learned my lesson and I hope everyone else can learn there.”
The 16-year-old, which CBSMiami.com is not naming due to his age, attends Miami Lakes Educational Center and was charged with making threats to cause bodily injury after using his cell phone to send the taunting tweets.
During a hearing in juvenile court, he was released from custody and ordered to stay away from the school. He faces another hearing on Wednesday afternoon.
When asked for an explanation at his home after he was released, the student said it was a misunderstanding that was blown way out of proportion.
“Like I said, I want kids and I can feel for them and I can understand,” he said. “I apologize to all the people who lost their kids [in Newtown, CT]. I didn’t mean it in that sense, as in, I didn’t really care about the kids. I meant that I didn’t care about the topic. Point is, anything could have happened and anyone could have come in and shot up the school. I just want them to take more precautions.”
“It wasn’t a threat to you guys. It was a statement in general, multiple statements that I made. I just want people to understand it’s a serious thing and it shouldn’t be made fun of and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.”
The teen’s mother said she did not want to comment but wanted her son to offer the apology.
CBS4′s Peter D’Oench spoke with students who know the 16-year-old student.
“I never thought he’d do something like this,” said student Milena Chavez. “He’s a quiet guy. He likes attention. But this is shocking. You don’t like things like this to happen at school.”
Justin, another student who knows the teen, said, “Whenever he says he’ll do something, he’ll do it. “He was just probably making a point that if they can do it upstate, I can do it here.”
“It scares me,” said student Alysia Leonardo. “I’m concerned about safety.”
Parents were concerned.
“I think it is rather disturbing that these days there are a lot of rebellious kids and they just think they can go out and do anything they want to do,” said Janet Phillips.
Chikeida Smith said, “I’m concerned. I’m glad they arrested someone before he could do something. You expect your kids to go to school and be safe.”
Some students said they did not think that the teen was serious.
“This kid was very cool,” said Leacy Leone, who knows the teen. “He is very nice. He’s no threat to anyone. He would never do anything. He was just playing around.”
“I was shocked honestly,” said Sachin Dath, one of the teen’s neighbors. “I never really would have expected that from him. I mean, he was really quiet and he just pretty (much kept) to himself.”
Following a safety announcement on the school’s loudspeaker Monday morning, the teen wrote I’m going to “shoot up the school this Friday. Prepare yourself” and that he was “making a list and checking it twice. We’re about to see who gets shot up real nice,” according to the arrest report.
He also wrote, “Yeah a bunch of little kids died. I could care less. And my school announced it like [it] matters. Safe? I could shoot this school up easily.” Another tweet read, “I would have walked in today with a gun in my bag and shot my whole class. Dead.”
Around 3 p.m. Monday, Miami-Dade police arrested the 16-year-old. He has already been released from juvenile detention.
The teen’s Twitter account features a photo of the infamous Columbine High shooting in Colorado.
According to the arrest report, the 16-year-old advised students that he intended his Twitter followers, school faculty, students and teachers to see the tweets.
Miami-Dade Public Schools spokesman John Schuster said late Tuesday morning in a statement that “School administrators responded quickly to work with police in addressing this situation. The student has been suspended and will be recommended for expulsion. He will not be returning to this school.”
“It’s crazy,” said student Richard Curry. “He should stay away from me and everyone else.”
Miami-Dade Police spokesman Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told D’Oench that it was not clear if the student intended to carry out his threat or if he had access to a weapon.
Police said that no weapons were found at his home in Miami Gardens, said Miami-Dade Police.