In a follow-up report from Lithia, Florida, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) say they identified and arrested the student responsible for making a false claim about a gun on campus at Barrington Middle School on Tuesday, February 12.
The individual, a 15-year-old student at Barrington Middle, is facing charges of Tampering with Physical Evidence (felony), Misuse of the 911 System (misdemeanor due to this being his first call), Disruption of a School Function (misdemeanor) and Petit Theft (misdemeanor).
HCSO say through multiple interviews with students and school staff, detectives learned that the student stole another student’s cellphone on Wednesday afternoon inside the school gymnasium. The student took the phone into the gym bathroom where he placed the hoax 911 call to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office claiming that a friend in the bathroom had a gun. He hung up the phone on the 911 dispatcher as she worked to gather more information from him. The student discarded the phone into a toilet before exiting the bathroom. His false claim led to both Barrington Middle School and adjoining Stowers Elementary School being placed on lockdown.
“Causing fear and panic is not funny, and as this student will, unfortunately, learn the hard way, making such a serious false claim comes with severe consequences,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “I hope that the quick actions of our deputies in responding to the potential threat and detectives who worked diligently to locate the perpetrator can provide some level of comfort to the families of Barrington Middle and Stowers Elementary Schools.”