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St. Lucie County student accused of false threat concerning Treasure Coast High School

James Patrick Frehely Barber faces up to 15 years in prison
Treasure Coast High School in Port St. Lucie on Oct. 14, 2021.jpg
Posted at 7:56 PM, Apr 03, 2023

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — An 18-year-old student in St. Lucie County was arrested Monday after investigators said he made a false report about a school threat against Treasure Coast High School.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said that school officials notified deputies early Monday morning about a threat circulating on social media.

Additional deputies were placed on campus out of an abundance of caution, according to the sheriff.

During the day, 100 parents went to the school campus and requested to pick up their children, according to the arrest report.

School resource deputies worked with the Port St. Lucie Police Department, district school safety officers and school administrators to investigate the incident.

They later identified James Patrick Frehely Barber, 18, of Port St. Lucie as a suspect.

Barber told investigators he was at Darwin Square Plaza applying for jobs Saturday, and he said he overheard a conversation of young people, saying "someone would shoot up the school."

"Barber faces a second-degree felony after crafting a false narrative about a school threat and then sharing that narrative online," Mascara said in a statement.

The student faces 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation and a $10,000 fine.

"We take every school threat seriously, so it is imperative that parents talk to their children about the dangers of written and verbal threats in school settings as well as the consequences.

Barber was booked into the St. Lucie County jail and is being held on a $10,000 bond.