Volusia deputies make arrest with new school violence prevention app

App created after Parkland shooting

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said on Thursday that it made its first arrest stemming from a tip through the Fortify Florida app.

Investigators said the student threatened to bring a gun to his high school. 

The student who felt threatened then downloaded the new, state-funded app and submitted the information. An hour later, the student said that a deputy called his house.

"The kid's initial reaction was to say, 'I'm going to grab my dad's gun and kill three people,'" said the 17-year-old student who submitted the tip.

News 6 spoke with the 17-year-old Pine Ridge High School junior, who said the threat was made over the phone to several of his friends. Fearful of what might happen, he called his mom. His mom instructed him to download the Fortify Florida app.

"She said there's this app you can get called Fortify Florida. I downloaded it, I submitted you know, everything that I could," said the teen. "There are people who have lost friends, you know, family from in school shootings, and that's not, that's not something you joke about."

The app was designed and funded by the state of Florida after the deadly Parkland school shooting.

Volusia detectives said their department responded to the tip within 15 minutes. 

Early Thursday morning, deputies interviewed the 16-year-old who allegedly made the threat. Investigators said that the teen admitted to making the threat, but said he was only joking.

The 16-year-old was arrested for threatening to discharge a destructive device.

"There were no firearms in the house, but the threat, you know that put a lot of people in fear," Capt. Brian Henderson said. "As a parent, it's unsettling to send your child to school when someone makes a threat like that."

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