BAY COUNTY, Fla. — According to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office two arrests were made by the Criminal Investigations Division on Friday, June 7, 2019. The arrests are of two male juveniles who were charged with False Report of Gun Violence, which are felony charges.
Deputies say in one case, a 16-year-old made a social media post threatening to cause violence at an event in Downtown, Panama City. He stated he “can’t wait to shoot up the place.”
The FBI contacted the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and an investigation was started.
Investigators discovered the identity of the minor and made contact.
The teen claimed he had no intention of carrying out his threat. He claimed he was only “trolling”. Trolling online involves the posting of inflammatory messages to simply to get a rise out of other users. He was arrested.
According to their report, deputies say the second case also surfaced on Friday, June 7, 2019. The teen posted a detailed message in a large group chat of mostly teens on Snapchat describing a violent act involving numerous firearms and the use of C4, an explosive material against an individual.
The teen also added he would shoot the individual in the feet, hands, and chest before strapping C4 explosives to them and blowing it up.
A complaint was filed, and when investigators located the teen who posted the comment, he explained he had no intention of carrying out the threat, but meant only to threaten the driver of a vehicle who had parked too close to another vehicle.
Even though the teen posted within a closed group chat, the message was shared multiple times by others and seen by the general public before a complaint was made to law enforcement.
If convicted, the two teens will be convicted felons, a label which will follow them into adulthood, negatively affecting their entire lives.
“Never, ever post a threatening comment on the internet,” Sheriff Tommy Ford warned. “We have zero tolerance for this and will investigate and charge the responsible party in all cases brought to our attention.”
The sheriff’s office wants to remind all to be careful of what they post on social media.
They say anyone posting a threatening comment who is found to be willing and able to carry out the threat is charged with FSS 836.10 Written Threats to Kill. If the person responsible for the threatening post states they never intended to carry out the threat and have no access to any weapons, they are charged with FSS 790.164, Making a False Report. Both are felonies.