Judge drops case against student who planned mass shooting due to loophole

A Florida judge has dismissed a case against a 15-year-old Florida student who planned to commit a mass shooting due to a legal loophole.

The student who was not named in the report due to his age, was arrested in early September after he showed a notebook detailing plans to commit a mass shooting to another student and that student told a teacher.

Authorities say the student mapped out the school, how to get past the gatekeeper and school security with the weapon, and how much time they would have to shoot people before police arrived:

“kill officers and then the gate keeper — then go one by one” and that he would have nine minutes to gun down as many people as possible, considering the distance between the sheriff’s office and the school, according to Maj. Randy Crews of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.

The student also admitted to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office that he constructed several ways to commit mass shootings in different areas of the school campus.

Despite the evidence against the student, a judge said prosecutors did not prove the threat was “transmitted” under state law.

According to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission who was told about the case on Tuesday, the charges were dropped because the student did not send the notebook to anyone:

Under state law,  if the person writes and sends threats to kill or do bodily injury to “the person” or “to any member of the family of the person to whom such letter or communication is sent,” it is considered a second-degree felony.

Several members of the Commission along with the community of Baker County expressed their concerns about the judge’s ruling especially because the ruling means the student will be released from state custody:

“The judge falls outside the scope of reasonableness. I just hope they can live with themselves if something happens,” said Commissioner Ryan Petty.

“If these judges make these rulings, we are moving backwards,” Maj. Randy Crews of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office said.

While others are outraged about the decision, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says though the situation is disturbing, it is the law:

“The question is, does the statute need to be changed? I don’t see anything in statute that needs to be changed.”

Commissioner Bruce Bartlett stated that while the decision was lawfully made, it was made by “one court,” seeming to indicate that the decision may be been made differently in another court or county:

“This seems to be a situation that happened in one place and a decision made by one court,” the Pinellas sheriff said. “It’s unfortunate and extremely troubling, and all we can do is hope this kid, who is out on the street does not execute his plan.”

 

This story was written with the help of our news partners at CBS12

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