A Bronx teen was arrested on Wednesday after threatening a shooting at his high school, repeatedly trying to buy guns online, and making multiple terroristic threats on a popular teen app named Kik, officials announced Thursday.
The mayhem at the Bronx Center for Science and Math comes on the heels of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed. President Trump, in response, to the shooting said school safety was a top priority for his administration, and proposed that arming teachers with guns was a possible way to prevent further violence.
The teenager, whose name has not yet been revealed, made the threats on December 12 on social media, saying that he was sick of being bullied and announced that he wanted to buy a gun to kill his classmates, police said. The 15-year-old faces felony charges.
After being alerted of the boy’s online activities by the police department’s computer crimes unit, police arrested the teen and found a bulletproof vest in his home, police said.
Meanwhile, residents near the local high school were frightened by the incident—and many demanded that something has to be done to prevent further such occurrences.
“I panic sending my kids to school every day,” said Cosaun Johnson, a father of two. “I heard about this happening at the school, and in low poverty areas like the Bronx and Brooklyn, you have all types of situations like bullying that lead to kids reacting like this.”
Johnson said he’s been watching the recent string of school shootings on television, and said it hurts to see something similar happen in his own neighborhood. He said he empathizes with those grieving in Florida.
“It breaks my heart to see the mothers of those students crying on tv,” he said. “The loss of their children, all the hurt. It can all be controlled if certain people control gun safety, and propose better gun laws.”
Michael Perez, a father of a 5-year-old boy who lives two blocks away from the school also said he was afraid to send his child off to school every day. He hopes schools will become safer as his young son grows older, he said.
“When I was in school, this didn’t occur as much. If you were bad, your parents disciplined you. If you were bullied, your parents would go to the school and they’d deal with it. Parents would have sit downs with other parents, and they discussed things like normal people. Nowadays, it’s gone horribly wrong,” Perez said.
“Now, kids tend to shut down, and psychologically things tend to get bad for them. It leads to things like this. And unfortunately, it’s happening more and more often.”
Perez said he’s not sure what the answer is to ending the reoccurrence of school shootings, “But having metal detectors would be a plus,” he said. “I also think they need to deal with the bullying in schools, and they need to monitor the kids better. Because teachers having guns isn’t the answer.”
In a letter to parents, Carmen Fariña, the chancellor of New York City’s education department, said her agency is also working to ensure the safety of all students. She didn’t address President Trump’s proposal to arm teachers, however. Since the Parkland shooting, Fariña says schools are reviewing their safety protocols, and revisiting active shooter drills.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke on the issue and encouraged everyone to be speak up if they heard or saw anything suspicious. “What we need more of is the public to come forward with information, and that includes young people,” De Blasio said.
For now, it seems, reporting from the adults paid off this time, as workers at the popular teen app company learned of the teen’s threat to his school, police said, and turned the information over to U.S. Department of Homeland Security—who then notified the NYPD.
No firearms were found at the teen’s Fordham Manor home, police said, and no students were harmed.
Correction: Due to an editing error, the school was originally identified as Bronx Science. We regret the error and thank our readers for pointing out our mistake.