ST. JOHNS, FL – A potential high school shooting was averted recently in north Florida, following the arrest of three teenagers. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office was tipped off by text messages that revealed two lists of students at Creekside High School who were targeted by the suspects. The teens had created a “hit list” of students they intended to harm physically and a “lethal hit list” of students they planned to kill.
The text messages also contained images of the targeted students with their faces circled, overhead shots of the high school, and the firearms they intended to use. The plot was brought to the attention of the authorities by another student. The arrest reports suggest that the group of teens was formed as a response to bullying from other students and they were attempting to recruit others.
While the arrest reports did not confirm whether the teens had access to firearms, they did include text messages discussing plans to use an AK-47. It is currently unclear whether the teens have legal representation.
St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Tim Forson commended the swift action and cooperation between the school district and law enforcement. He stated that the school would also be implementing its own consequences, which could range from expulsion to placement in an alternative school.
The three teens, aged 14 and 15, are facing charges of written threats to kill or do bodily harm and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. Their identities are being withheld as they are being charged as juveniles.
As of October 3, there have been 58 school shootings nationwide. Federal data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that fatalities at schools due to gun violence doubled during the 2021-22 academic school year compared to the previous one.