After a tragic and fatal shooting during which an 18-year-old gunman walked into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire, murdering 19 children and two teachers, several attempted copycat incidents of other potential school shootings have been reported. Most recently an 18-year-old Florida man was charged on May 29 with threatening to “conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism” after allegedly making an online threat suggesting he was armed and headed to “the nearest school.”
The suspect posted images of himself with what appeared to be a handgun, a rifle, and a tactical-style vest, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The photo caption read, “Hey Siri, directions to the nearest school.”
According to NBC News, detectives received a tip that prompted an investigation and resulted in the arrest of the suspect, identified as Corey Anderson. Their investigation also determined the handgun and rifle depicted were “airsoft guns,” which shoot a type of nonmetallic BB.
“This type of threat is unacceptable. This man intentionally instilled fear into our community as a sick joke, but be warned, this is no laughing matter,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a press release. “Protecting students is our greatest priority. We take school threats very seriously, if you see something suspicious, please contact us immediately.”
Anderson’s arrest comes a day after another Floridian made a written threat to shoot up a school. NBC News reported that a 10-year-old fifth-grader in Lee County, Florida, was arrested on a charge of making a written threat to conduct a mass shooting on Saturday. In that situation, the threat was made via text message.
But students from Florida are not the only ones making threats following the deadly Texas school shooting.
Last week a police department in Texas announced that they were investigating another incident in which a student appeared to be holding a rifle walking around Berkner High School in Richardson County. The suspect was detained and charged with unlawfully carrying weapons in a weapon-free school zone, officials said. No further information was released due to the student’s age.
The weapon they were carrying was described as an AK-47-style pistol and a replica AR-15-style Orbeez rifle.
Across the country, people mourn those who passed during the shooting in Uvalde. Activists and others are calling for policy change to increase gun control.
As unfortunate as it is, mass shootings are common. The U.S. continues to see a significant number of mass shootings, even after Tuesday’s tragic incident. According to The Washington Post, at least 15 mass shootings have taken place across the United States since Tuesday, from California to Arizona to Tennessee.
This year alone, there have been 27 school shootings, Education Week reported. Until more is done to regulate the use of guns, these incidents of violence will continue.
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