The May 24 deadly shooting of 19 children and two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has led to several “copycat” arrests around the nation, including a 10-year-old Florida fifth grader.
“This student’s behavior is sickening, especially after the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas,” Lee County Florida Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a May 28 Facebook post after deputies arrested a 10-year-old at Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral. “Making sure our children are safe is paramount. We will have law and order in our schools! My team didn’t hesitate one second…NOT ONE SECOND, to investigate this threat.”
The department’s Facebook post included a link of a deputy taking the child, identified as Daniel Issac Marquez, 10, out of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in handcuffs.
Marquez is charged with making a written threat to conduct a mass shooting after detectives learned he sent a text message, which was later determined to be “fake,” police said.
“Right now is not the time to act like a little delinquent. It’s not funny,” Marceno said in the release. “This child made a fake threat, and now he’s experiencing real consequences.”
Marquez is one of several young people investigated or arrested for making “copycat” threats to schools around the country in the wake of the Uvalde shootings where an 18-year-old gunman entered the school around 11:30 a.m. May 24 and killed 19 students and two teachers while injuring 17 others before being killed himself by a Customs and Border Protection agent, according to The New York Times.
Several school districts in Texas received threats in the days following the shooting, the Dallas Observer reported May 27, including Richardson Independent School District, Fort Worth ISD, Weatherford ISD, Arlington ISD, Rains ISD, and the Donna ISD.
The publication said any of the threats that might have been credible were “thwarted.”
The Washington Post reported May 27 that Suffolk County, New York, police said they arrested a 16-year-old for posting a threat for a mass shooting at Belford High School, and police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, told the Post a high school there went “into lockdown” when a high school student allegedly brought “ghost gun parts” into a classroom.
Two students were arrested in Denver, Colorado, for bringing a paintball gun into a high school that went into lockdown, PBS reported May 29.
“In the aftermath of a school shooting tragedy, school shootings are front of mind for everyone, and we may be more inclined to report suspected threats of violence, thus increasing the number of threats,” James Densley, professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and a co-founder of the Violence Project, wrote in an email to the Post. “At the same time, high school students try to seize on the moment by calling in hoax threats to get school canceled.”