NewsTreasure CoastRegion Indian River CountyVero Beach


Vero Beach High School student, 17, found with loaded gun in backpack on campus

Student investigated after making threatening comments
The Indian River County Sheriff's Office said this gun was found inside a student's backpack at Vero Beach High School on Nov. 30, 2022.
Posted at 2:41 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 08:18:00-05

VERO BEACH, Fla. — A student at Vero Beach High School was arrested after making threatening comments and having a loaded gun on campus, the school district said.

A Facebook post by the Indian River School District said it was reported Wednesday afternoon that the student made harmful comments toward another student at the school.

The 17-year-old who made the comments was investigated and questioned by school resource deputies and school officials. The Indian River County Sheriff's Office said the loaded gun was later recovered from the student's backpack.

The student, whose name has not been released, was detained by deputies and taken into custody.

Wednesday's incident comes after deputies arrested a different high school student last week who was accused of making threats to faculty and staff at Vero Beach High School.

The sheriff's office said the latest suspect faces charges of possession of a weapon on school property, carrying a concealed firearm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief.

"Our team is still looking into a lot of the details such as you know where the gun came from, how he had access to it. All those were details that were still actively trying to track down right now," Sheriff Eric Flower said.

Flowers said a teacher may have been threatened and they have are pursuing other tips.

"We take every single threat seriously," he said. "Regardless, we follow up on leads. We've been out at kids' houses, parents' houses in the middle of the night. The cases that the media and the public sees are a fraction of what we're actually investigating."

Flower urges students thinking about committing a crime, to seek help from a teacher, counselor or trusted adult.

"Bringing a gun to school is not the answer," he said. "It's only going to make your situation significantly worse, whatever that situation is, and I promise you you're going to spend a lot of time in jail because of it."

James Colvin, who is a Vero Beach High School alumnus and has two grandchildren who are students at the school, told WPTV he is glad for the district's zero-tolerance policy.

"Kids should realize that when you do things of that nature, carry a gun to school, the consequences are going to be great, greater than sometimes what they are," Colvin said.

The school district reminds students that if they see or hear something that makes them uncomfortable to report their concern to a trusted adult or use the FortifyFL app for anonymous reporting.