Father speaking out in defense of 10-year-old son accused of a mass shooting threat

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
5th grader school threat
(Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

A Cape Coral father is fighting for his son, who is sitting in juvenile detention and is accused of threatening to shoot up a school.

That fifth grader has been in juvenile detention since the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested them.

The sheriff’s office said he sent a series of text messages threatening Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral. The 10-year-old’s father says those texts were taken out of proportion.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is protect my kids. And now he’s possibly in danger in a place that that that is really just a prison for children. For pictures,” said the kid’s father.

The pictures showed AR-15-style weapons as part of a series of text messages to a classmate. The sheriff said they constitute a threat to students at Patriot Elementary.

“Rifles. A written threat to commit a mass shooting. What if that was, quote, ‘a fake threat’ and we do not look into that? What if someone doesn’t call that in and someone ignores that red flag?” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

Sheriff Marceno boasts of being tough on kids who make threats. After deputies arrested the fifth-grader, the sheriff posted a video on the department’s Facebook page for all to see.

WINK News has blurred his face and is not using his name because of his age. We are also not sharing the identity of the boy’s father to protect the child’s identity.

“They just took him without any notice, and he looked at me and hugged me and said he was sorry. And they took him away,” said the boy’s father.

The 10-year-old’s father said his son isn’t capable of carrying out a mass shooting and doesn’t know why his son sent the texts.

“He is a child, and so I don’t really know why children do what they do. I mean, I remember being young and doing things and not really knowing why I did them. I didn’t ask my son because they were google stock photos,” the boy’s father said.

He has talked to his son about guns and gun safety. The child’s father served in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army Infantry Division and admitted he keeps firearms in his home.

“So I’ve made it very clear that gun safety is very important in my home. I’ve made sure that my children understand what that means as far as like, what it looks like to clear a weapon what it looks like,” the father said.

The boy’s father would not say if his son had fired a gun but did say, “Whether or not he knows how to use a weapon? The answer is absolutely.”

He is also adamant that his son never threatened to commit a mass shooting. “Absolutely not. He never used those words,” said the boy’s father.

To the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the words that the 10-year-old used were enough.

As of now, the 10-year-old is still in juvenile detention. His dad gets to visit him twice a week.

The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism has joined the dad’s cause to get his son out of juvenile detention.

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