Law enforcement weighs in on 10-year-old accused of threatening mass shooting

Reporter: Céline McArthur
Published: Updated:

More law-and-order experts are weighing in on the case against the 10-year-old boy charged with threatening a mass shooting at his Cape Coral school. They say Daniel Marquez’s text messages to a classmate needed to be investigated, but they’re challenging how the Lee County Sheriff’s Office did it.

WINK News Investigative Reporter Celine McArthur continues our in-depth coverage of this case. In her last report, Civil Rights Attorney Alan Dershowitz offered his insight into LCSO actions.

His perspective comes from his command of civil and constitutional rights, and what’s needed to take a case to trial. The two law enforcement experts weighing in for this story know what it takes to keep communities safe.

“The court of public opinion is merciless and it’s very unforgiving, and to subject a 10-year-old to this can be very damaging.” – Jim Derrane, Ph.D., Retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent.

Jim Derrane comes to this conversation with 20 years of FBI experience. That includes:

“The counterterrorism world; and I worked on both domestic and international counterterrorism. I moved down to the Critical Incident Response group down at Quantico, and helped train FBI operators and executives in Critical Incident Response,” Derrane.

Jim Derrane has 20 years of FBI experience. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Dave Benson has four decades of experience in law enforcement.

“I retired as the Director of Law Enforcement Training for the State Department in Washington, DC,” Benson said. “And my areas of expertise are violence prevention, violence, management, violence mitigation, but also behavioral threat assessment and management. Helping the community because it’s a community problem, recognize these behaviors of concern, and when they accumulate, who to report it to and how to report it.”

Dave Benson has four decades of experience in law enforcement. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Neither are involved in the Daniel Marquez case, but based on the news coverage, social media posts, and available police reports, both experts have questions.

They want to know how an investigation into a possible threat of mass violence at a local elementary school can be done in a matter of hours?

“A little surprising to me when they say the investigation is concluded, in my opinion and experience, that’s where the investigation starts,” Derrane said.

Daniel Marquez
Daniel Marquez (Credit: WINK News)

Sheriff Carmine Marceno told WINK News in a June interview, that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office case was closed at 7:30 p.m. on May 28, when he posted Daniel’s perp walk on Facebook.

That’s three hours after Daniel’s arrest on the day LCSO got the call about the text messages in question.

“Well, that was the conclusion of the investigation. So, he’s arrested, he’s in our custody. He’s arrested for writing threats to commit a mass shooting,” Marceno said.

“As a former trained criminal investigator, that investigation is just beginning. And so, there are a lot of reasons … What’s the motivation—if we can find out?”

We asked Marceno about a motive in our June interview.

MCARTHUR: “Do you know his motive?”

MARCENO: “I don’t have to. When you write… do I know it or do I not know it? Should he be charged? Absolutely.”

“We as threat assessment professionals, and within the school and educational security community, care very much about motive. We don’t want this to happen again,” Benson said.

Derrane adds, “I would want to have somebody with experience and expertise in interviewing children. So I would bring somebody along with me on my team. Then we’d have to make a determination based on a 10-year-old’s ability to understand what’s happening. What he did, because, after all, he’s a 10-year-old child using electronic media.”

Both explain why they strongly disagree with Marceno’s decision to record and post a video to Facebook of Daniel hauled away in handcuffs, with the caption: “This student’s behavior is sickening,” and the TikTok video where Daniel’s mug shot is edited to a version of the AC/DC song, “Shoot to Thrill.”

“At the very best, it’s unhelpful. At the worst, it smacks of publicity that isn’t necessary,” Benson added.

Florida law allows Daniel’s photograph to be released since it’s a felony charge. However, the law is not clear when it comes to releasing video.

“Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t do it, because you have the responsibility to protect your constituents,” Derrane explained. “And not only the people that live, in this case in Lee County, but also the people under your care because they are in the court process. You have a responsibility to them as well.”

“Believe it or not, there are some folks out there that are thinking about doing something like this in the future, that may actually consider that to be a trigger, not not a deterrent,” Benson said.

Derrane adds, “The sheriff reportedly said that ‘I am making my people safe’. But in that, is he providing justice to this boy and his family? Could he be providing the trigger that in the long run may make us less, make less safe?”

Both say Marceno should not have released select details of the case, like the text messages. They say release all of it or none of it. We reached out to Sheriff Marceno for comment. His response, in part, says, “As the Sheriff of Lee County, school safety is my top priority. He adds, “any threats made, real or fake will be immediately investigated and taken seriously.”

On Monday, the family said no to a plea deal from the State, so the family is scheduled to be back in court on August 3.

You can see Celine’s coverage on this case here:

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