NewsRegion Martin CountyJensen Beach

Actions

'Graphic' note threatening mass shooting found at Jensen Beach High School, sheriff says

9 students named in note, authorities searching for person who wrote it
A threatening note found at Jensen Beach High School on Aug. 27, 2021.jpg
Posted at 2:21 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 17:17:38-04

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — Martin County detectives are investigating the discovery of a chilling note that threatened a mass shooting at Jensen Beach High School, Sheriff William Snyder announced Wednesday.

Snyder said a teacher found the crumpled up note next to her desk last Friday, which contained a threat to shoot nine students on Sept. 8.

"It was addressed to himself. It's a memo to self, letter to self. Bring your gun to school on the date that we mentioned and shoot your intended targets," Snyder said. "It's pretty blunt. It's pretty graphic."

The sheriff said school officials immediately notified the Martin County Sheriff's Office, which launched an investigation.

As of Wednesday, the person who wrote the note has not been identified. Seven of the nine students named in the letter have been identified, and their families have been notified.

"We're treating it 100% as if it's a legitimate threat," Snyder said. "As far as I'm concerned, I have a threat to shoot nine students at one of our schools. And we're absolutely reacting as if that threat will be carried out."

Authorities said there doesn't appear to be any connection between the students on the list.

RELATED: Martin County School District touts new technology to keep students, staff safe

As a precaution, the sheriff's office has tightened security at Jensen Beach High School and increased the number of school resource officers on campus. Snyder added that security will continue to be increased -- both through technology and manpower -- as they get closer to Sept. 8.

"The personnel that we have committed to that school is dramatically increased," Snyder said. "If you have a child there and that date frightens you and you're uncomfortable, by all means keep your child home."

Detectives are now analyzing the handwriting in the note and talking to witnesses to figure out who penned the threat.

Snyder said the school sent a robocall to parents on Wednesday, five days after the letter was first uncovered. The call said:

"Good Afternoon Falcon Families, Recently, a handwritten letter was found in one of our classrooms that contained threats directed at specific students. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office immediately began investigating the threat and made contact with the parents of all students who were listed in the letter. As the letter made reference to the date of September 8, there will be an increased law enforcement presence on our campus out of an abundance of caution. Please be assured that the safety of our students and staff continues to be our top priority. We will continue to partner with the Sheriff’s Office to keep our campus safe and secure. Please do not hesitate to contact the main office of our school with any questions you have. Thank you for partnering with us for your child’s education."

"Why didn't the robocall go out sooner?" WPTV journalist Meghan McRoberts asked Snyder on Wednesday. "Why did it take several days?"

"I think that's a decision that the school had to make. I support their decision," Snyder said. "If they would have done it earlier, someone might have said, why did you do it so early? That's so disruptive. It's hard to know. We do the best we can. We're not fortune tellers."

If the person who wrote the note is identified, they will be arrested for a felony of making a written threat to kill or cause bodily injury, Snyder said.

If you have any information that can help authorities, call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-274-8477.