BARTOW, Fla. — A 13-year-old Florida boy has been involuntarily hospitalized for a second time after telling deputies he wanted to be the next school shooter.
Polk County Sheriff’s deputies said they found the teen passed out on a sidewalk early Saturday. He told them he drank an entire bottle stolen from his parents’ liquor cabinet and took a bunch of “happy pills,” according to a news release sent Tuesday.
The boy also told investigators that he “wanted to kill a lot of kids” in retaliation for being expelled last month from Westside K-8 School in nearby Osceola County, allegedly for threatening to kill specific classmates in the wake of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Osceola County authorities hospitalized him against his will for psychiatric evaluations under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows authorities to temporarily hold someone who has been deemed a threat to himself or others. Now he’s been involuntarily hospitalized again in Polk County, and he’s also charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony, for a series of alleged threats.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he hopes the boy gets the help he needs.
“We cannot allow anyone of any age to get away with criminal threats to kill, especially when they are aimed toward school children,” said Judd, an outspoken sheriff in central Florida who has advocated for arming school personnel.
Investigators searched the boy’s PlayStation at his home in Davenport, which is between Orlando and Tampa, and said they found pictures of the suspected Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz as well as images of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.
They said the boy also made troubling statements — including that he wanted to die and see God, and that he wanted to kill students who had “snitched” on him before he was expelled. He also said he had buried a handgun in a neighbor’s backyard to keep his mother from finding it. The Polk Sheriff’s statement said a gun was not found, but they did learn that the boy had made similar statements in Osceola County, where deputies accused him in an affidavit of making written threats to kill.