The Gainesville Police Department arrested a 15-year-old male believed to be responsible for six bomb threats made to local schools on Friday.
In an email to WUFT, GPD spokesperson Ben Tobias said the suspect, a Gainesville resident, attends Horizon New Pathways school and could be charged with six counts of false report of planting a bomb or explosive, a second degree felony, if he is found guilty. The suspect would also have to pay a fine due to the significant law enforcement response.
According to an email from Jackie Johnson, the Alachua County Public Schools public information officer, threats were made to Kanapaha Middle School, Gainesville High School, Lincoln Middle School, Horizon New Pathways and Westwood Middle School.
School officials evacuated students in response to the bomb threats. Students were dismissed early as GPD swept and cleared each school for bombs, Johnson said.
Don Lewis, principal of Lincoln Middle School, said he was impressed by how his students and staff responded to the bomb threats. Everyone was “very calm, very orderly, very professional.”
“I don’t think it could’ve been handled much better than by my students,” he said.
David Shelnutt, the Gainesville High School principal, said about 1,800 GHS students had to evacuate the school. He said situations like this are exactly why schools run emergency drills — to ensure preparation in case of disaster.
“You never know when you may need it,” he said.