After Miami-Dade Student Posts Photo With Rifle, Police Say He's Not a Threat

Anonymous via Snapchat
Yeah, uh, definitely do not do what the Miami-Dade County Public Schools student did in the photo above. A mere week after Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the kid pictured here appears to have posed with an assault-style rifle and captioned the image "Here's a fat FUCK YOU to everyone."

The student, whom New Times is not naming because he was not charged with a crime and appears to be underage, attends Terra Environmental Research Institute, a magnet high school in West Kendall less than 50 miles from Stoneman Douglas. It's unclear whether he was making a serious threat, trying to make a dumb statement about gun control, or simply being a really stupid troll.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools told New Times it dispatched school police to talk to the student and his parents but ultimately decided he wasn't out to harm others.

"Miami-Dade Schools Police thoroughly investigated this incident, and although the student’s actions clearly demonstrated a lack of judgment, they did not constitute a threat," school district spokesperson John Schuster said via email. "School administrators will be meeting with the student’s parents to discuss possible disciplinary measures, as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct."

The new photo illustrates the biggest problem school police across Florida and the rest of the nation are facing right now: copycat threats. Major school massacres almost always inspire ambitious idiots and other disturbed kids to announce they, too, would like to commit murder. The McClatchy D.C. newswire reported 12 copycats made school-shooting threats around the nation in the first 24 hours after Cruz committed the shooting.

Multiple South Florida students have reportedly been arrested for threatening to murder their classmates this week, including a 15-year-old in Lauderhill, a 13-year-old in Lauderdale Lakes, and an 11-year-old in Davie. And that is just in Broward County.

In Miami-Dade, a 13-year-old was arrested for threatening Miami Lakes Middle School, according to CBS Miami. Jorge Mas Canosa Middle School was also placed on lockdown after a student made this threat on Instagram: “I’m coming for you”

In response, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho warned in a news conference that the county was taking a no-nonsense approach to copycat threats.

“They constitute a felony," he reportedly said. "So it could lead to imprisonment. It could lead to a permanent record on a young man or young woman’s life." Carvalho also reportedly beefed up Miami-Dade Schools security before classes began Thursday after the shooting in neighboring Broward County.

Local and federal officials are under immense scrutiny for clearly failing to fully investigate Cruz, the Stoneman Douglas shooter. The Broward Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Children and Families reportedly visited the teen's home 39 times over the years but say they never found enough evidence to detain Cruz involuntarily under the state Baker Act, which lets cops apprehend mentally ill people who threaten themselves or others. The FBI apologized for also missing warning signs: The bureau said it received a phone tip January 5, 2018, that Cruz talked of committing a massacre, but it failed to do anything about the threat or alert the FBI Miami Field Office.

BuzzFeed News also obtained screenshots of Instagram messages from Cruz, which showed him bragging about his gun collection and threatening to shoot his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. Nothing was done to stop Cruz or arrest him, and he was legally allowed to buy the AR-15 he purchased when he turned 18.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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