Disturbing Drawing A 'Wake Up Call' to Gulf Co. School Officials

PORT ST. JOE, Fla. - A violent picture submitted at Port St. Joe Elementary School has heightened safety concerns for Gulf County officials.

School administrators and law enforcement say although it's just a drawing, they're not taking it lightly.

"It depicted a violent shooting on a school campus. It didn't leave a lot for the imagination," said Gulf Co. Superintendent Jim Norton.

The disturbing drawing depicted on a child's homework assignment shows a person running from a school on fire, and others standing in a line while being shot by an individual. Gulf County Sheriff's investigators arrested Robert Paul Alexander Edwards, 33, of Mexico Beach. 

Authorities say a student returned the parent participation assignment on December 1st.

"He completed a spelling test and then after the spelling test was completed, then that's when he drew the picture," said Gulf Co. Sheriff Mike Harrison.

Norton says the child's teacher took no chances by alerting administration.

"She saw it, it was immediate, it was a very fluid situation. She notified her principal, who notified us, and our SRO [school resource officer] which is the Gulf County Sheriff's Department," said Norton.

Both Norton and Harrison believe the teacher did the right thing. Harrison says Edwards was apologetic, but knew the concerns the picture would bring.

"He said that it was a foolish mistake that he had made, but didn't provide us any more detail as to why he did it," said Harrison. 

"This is a good wake up call to us all. It's forced us to reevaluate our own safety plan," added Norton.

Edwards is charged with written threat to kill or do bodily injury, which is a second degree felony. He's now at the Gulf County Jail on a $150,000 bond.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has forwarded Edward's information to Homeland Security for more background information.


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