Update, Dec. 1: Fifteen-year-old Tyree Harris has been charged with two counts of “False Report About Planting Bomb,” a 2nd Degree Felony, for the bomb threats made to Gainesville High School on Nov. 19 and 20.
According to a release from Gainseville Police Department spokesperson Ben Tobias, phone records for GHS verified the threats were made from the same number. Records obtained by the number’s carrier led GPD to Simon Peter Harris Jr., whose juvenile son attends the high school. GPS coordinates at the time of the calls revealed they were made from the high school’s grounds.
On Nov. 25, Tobias and GPD Detective Martin Honeycutt interviewed Tyree Harris at his residence with his father present. Harris admitted the number on the records was his cell phone; he also admitted he was at school at the time the calls were made but denied making the threats.
A search warrant served to the carrier also revealed text messages from Harris’ phone to another student, who later confirmed the conversation, about making the bomb threats.
Tobias said Harris will be tried as an adolescent.
Update, Nov. 20: Gainesville High School received two phone calls Thursday morning almost identical to Wednesday’s threat, according to a release from Alachua County Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson.
“We have been in consultation with GPD,” Johnson wrote, “and this is not considered an active threat.”
Nothing was found during a visual search of the campus. GHS is operating normally, and the campus has not been evacuated.
Parents have been contacted via email and text messaging. Anyone with more information is asked to report it immediately.
Original Post: Gainesville High School evacuated Wednesday after a bomb threat was called into the school’s main line.
At 12:09 p.m., a secretary answered a call that appeared to be from a juvenile. The caller said “bomb threat” and hung up before any questions could be asked.
As a precaution, Gainesville Police Department and Alachua County School Board personnel safely evacuated the 1,900 students and staff to the nearby Planet Fitness parking lot until a complete sweep of the school could be done.
Gainesville Police borrowed three certified bomb-sniffing canines from University of Florida Police Department and one from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to help clear the campus room-by-room.
Parents were notified by the school board via an automated phone call and given the option to pick their students up from the Planet Fitness parking lot.
Beatrice Flagg, a grandmother of an 11th grade GHS student, said her grandson called her to say he could be picked up.
“With all the things that are happening at the schools nowadays, I was very concerned,” Flagg said. “My grandkids are my heart.”
As of school dismissal time at 2 p.m., no students were allowed in the buildings and no cars were allowed to enter campus. Students who drove to campus were allowed to pick up their cars from the parking lot and bus riders were picked up from the bus loop.
Kelly Serrano, a 10th grade student, was in class when an announcement was made that they had to evacuate the school. She said she was scared and did not know what would happen.
GPD spokesman, Officer Ben Tobias, said that after the department searches every room and confirms there is nothing in the school, they will work backwards to identify who called the threat in.
“We’ve been pretty lucking with not having too many (bomb threats this past year),” Tobias said.
An “all clear” was announced via email at 3:32 p.m. Information on the suspect is still unknown.
GPD’s investigators are working to identify the caller, Tobias said.
“We have to work very closely with the telephone company,” Tobias said. “[We’ll] try to backtrack where the call came from and if we’re able to identify that person then they will definitely be charged.”
Going forward, the high school will be monitored more closely.
“We have school resource officers assigned at the high school anyway,” Tobias said. “They will just make sure they’re keeping an extra watch on the school.”
Morgan Frazier and Kyle Follansbee contributed to this report.