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Felony charges handed down to Taylor County students who circulated picture of gun pointed at black student

Two 14-year-olds charged with felonies
Posted at 3:15 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 16:28:56-05

TAYLOR COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Two students who helped create and circulate a photo of a gun pointed at a black Taylor County High School student has been charged with written threats to kill.

Two 14-year-olds have been charged with written threats to kill after an "edited" picture of a gun pointed at a black student with a racial slur underneath made waves in the community.

On Feb. 24, the Taylor County Sheriff's office says a Taylor County High student “air-dropped” the picture to the phones of several other students in the class.

The photo, which Taylor County deputies say showed students seated in their seats in a fourth period class, was determined to have been taken several days earlier. However, a hand holding a handgun had been edited into the photo, along with a caption featuring a racial slur.

After further investigation, deputies say the photo was revealed to be edited by a 14-year-old student. It was also determined that the photo and editing took place approximately two to four weeks before it was “air dropped" on Monday.

After editing the picture, deputies say the 14-year-old student then shared the photo with his friends, who in turn distributed it to others. The student who sparked widespread concern after airdropping the photo on Monday has also been identified by authorities.

The Taylor County School District has suspended both students pending a school board hearing to determine further action. The sheriff’s office also forwarded the case to the State Attorney’s Office for review and both students were charged with written threats to kill, a second degree felony.

Anyone with any information about the incident are asked to contact Lieutenant Steve Bell at Taylor County High School or Lieutenant Gina Deeson.

Parents are urged to monitor their child’s social media accounts and cell phone activity. You are also encouraged to speak with your children to warn them of the seriousness of the consequences from this type of behavior.

Deputies have not released the identity of the teens. TCSO's full release can be read below:

"Monday morning, February 24, 2020, during a second period class, a Taylor County High School student “air dropped” a disturbing photo to the phones of several other students in the class. The photo has since been circulated through social media and news media outlets.

The photo, which depicted students seated in their seats in a fourth period class, was determined to have been taken several days earlier. However, a hand holding a handgun had been edited into the photo, as well as a banner with a racial slur attached.

Following a thorough two day investigation, the source of the photo has been identified and revealed the photo was created and edited by a fourteen-year-old student. It was also determined that the photo and editing took place approximately 2-4 weeks prior to the “air drop”. The fourteen-year-old student shared the photo with his circle of friends, who in turn distributed it to others.

The student who “air-dropped” the photo on Monday, February 24, 2020 has also been identified.

The Taylor County School District has suspended both students pending a school board hearing to determine further action.

The sheriff’s office investigative case is being forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review, both students charged with a violation of Florida Statute 836.10 (Written Threats to Kill, Do Bodily injury, or Conduct a Mass Shooting or an Act of Terrorism), a second degree felony.

Anyone with any further information regarding this incident are asked to contact Lieutenant Steve Bell at Taylor County High School or Lieutenant Gina Deeson.

Parents are urged to monitor their child’s social media accounts/cell phone activity and speak with their children, warning them of the seriousness of the consequences from this type of behavior.

If you see something, say something."