Florida 11-year-old arrested after falsely reporting a shooting because he wanted to go home early

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A Florida boy was arrested after falsely reporting a school shooting to authorities because he wanted to go home early.

The 11-year-old boy was charged with false report of a mass shooting, utilizing a two-way communication device to commit a felony, disruption of a school function and misuse of 911, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks student called 911 on Tuesday at around 9:40 a.m. to report a school shooter in a hallway of the school, Fox 35 reported.

The call led to a school lockdown and law enforcement responding to the campus. Officials did not locate a gunman, weapons or any victims.

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All staff and students were accounted for and returned to their classrooms after an evacuation.

Detectives launched an investigation into who called 911 to report a shooting, and the 11-year-old student was found to be the one responsible. The student denied calling 911 and claimed he left his phone and his backpack behind when he went to the school clinic.

The boy grabbed his friend’s unattended phone and used it to call 911 and report an active shooter, according to deputies.

“Help, there is a school shooter walking through the hallway,” the boy told a dispatcher, according to 911 audio from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

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“What school?” the dispatcher asked.

“Um, Marion Oaks,” the caller replied.

“What hallway are you in?” the dispatcher asked.

“Building two,” the caller said.

“Marion Oaks Elementary or Marion Oaks High School?” the dispatcher asked.

“He’s coming. He’s coming,” the caller claimed before the line disconnected.

Several people identified the boy as the caller and said he told students earlier that day he wanted to go to the clinic, so his parents could pick him up early from school, according to the sheriff’s office. 

“All of this was a prank,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

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A Marion County detective spoke with the boy’s parents, but they refused to speak without a lawyer present.

“This student put fear into his fellow students, staff, and parents. And for what? A prank? Because you wanted to go home?” Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement. “I will not tolerate my young citizens being fearful of going to school because you wanted to be a ‘jokester’ in hopes of going home. The law requires that any person who makes these types of false reports pay restitution for the cost of the law enforcement response which, in this case, will equal hundreds upon hundreds of man-hours. This young man is going to need to mow a lot of lawns to pay that bill.”

The boy was arrested and transported to the Marion County Jail.

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