VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Local law enforcement agencies are cracking down on people threatening to harm others, whether it's through text messages, social media or video game forums.
Volusia County authorities arrested at least three people in the last week, and they're crediting the public for reporting alarming behavior and encouraging everyone who sees something to say something.
"All of these threats have to be vetted," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
In less than 12 hours, authorities followed a tip and arrested 25-year-old Tristan Wix outside a Daytona Beach Shores Winn Dixie parking lot on Friday. Chitwood said Wix's ex-girlfriend showed them disturbing text messages of his detailed plan to shoot and kill as many people as he could.
"He gets arrested. We get a search warrant in his house. We recover a .22 hunting rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition," the sheriff said. "Clearly, this is a person that fits the profile of what an active shooter is."
Also on Friday, the FBI alerted the Volusia County Sheriff's Office about a 15-year-old boy who they said was on a gaming forum and threatened to shoot people at Seabreeze High School and said, "I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum."
Deputies said the teen made up the name and never intended to cause any harm, but he was still arrested for making the threat.
"There is no such thing in today's day and age as (saying), 'I was joking,'" Chitwood said.
Authorities arrested 27-year-old John Deraleau on Saturday who they said stalked his ex-girlfriend in Orange City and threatened to shoot her friend's house and the entire block. The woman alerted authorities and said she was concerned because an elementary school is nearby.
"This is how it's supposed to work. You see something, you say something (and) law enforcement does its job," Chitwood said.