Students from a Daytona Beach high school are now facing criminal charges after a shooting scare turned out to be a “cruel prank,” according to police.
Rumors, lies, and conspiracy theories have been circulating on social media following Friday’s lockdown at Mainland High School, Daytona Beach police said Sunday.
“This entire incident appears to have been a cruel prank by several students that has now gotten out of control due to internet trolls, misinformed people and in some cases, people that are not even in Florida,” police said.
Investigators said school officials were notified Thursday about a threat written on a bathroom stall. Law enforcement reviewed the school’s surveillance video and interviewed two students who had entered the bathroom around the time the graffiti was discovered.
The students denied being responsible for the graffiti and it was determined that there was no real threat, police said.
On Friday, two groups of students in the cafeteria “decided to capitalize on the threat” and “appear to collaborate with each other to create a panic,” police said.
The students were seen on video “getting into specific positions and locations within the cafeteria, timing their actions” and several female students told an administrator someone had a gun.
At the same time, a male student ran from the building “causing a large crowd to follow him.”
The video showed that no gun could bee seen at any time, police said.
“Video of these individuals prior to and during the incident shows that neither the male nor the female students observed a gun or flinched as you would expect when shots had just been fired,” police said. “At no time in the video, does anyone stand on a table and present a gun, or fire shots as some people have posted.”
The students involved have been identified and interviewed by detectives.
Second-degree felony charges for making a false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner are pending for those involved, the statement said. Detectives are also recommending that everyone involved be expelled from school.