Student Falsely Threatened School Violence, Pinellas Deputies Say
He told deputies that a picture and statement he posted on Snapchat were meant as a joke, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
PALM HARBOR – A student at Center Academy was arrested after he threatened school violence in a posting on Snapchat, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
William Elliott Freeman, III, 18, of Holiday, was charged with one count of false report about planting a bomb, explosive or weapon of mass destruction. He was arrested at Center Academy, his school, which is in Palm Harbor. He is in the twelfth grade at Center Academy, a private school in Palm Harbor.
Deputies said that Freeman posted a threatening photograph and statement on his Snapchat account before school on Sept. 7. The photo showed Freeman standing in front of mirror, holding what appeared to be a handgun, with the statement, “Don’t Come to School Today (It’s a BeBe Gun).”
About 11:36 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 12), deputies were contacted by the school after another student brought the Snapchat photograph to their attention. Freeman was identified by school staff as being the student in the photograph.
Deputies arrested Freeman after, they said, he admitted taking the photograph and placing it on Snapchat. Freeman told deputies he took the photograph and posted it on Snapchat as a joke. He told detectives that he had no plans of causing any harm at the school.
Freeman told deputies that the post was meant to be seen in a private group chat and he did not intend for the post to be perceived as a threat. Freeman told detectives that the handgun he was holding in the photograph was a BB gun.
Detectives spoke with Freeman’s father at his residence in Holiday. Detectives said they found the gun, which was a BB gun. There were no other weapons in the home.
Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | School Violence | Arrests | Tampabay News
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