Parkland Student Arrested in School Shooting Threat, Mother Says It Was a Joke

A Parkland, Florida, student has been arrested for allegedly making a mass shooting threat toward Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Associated Press reported.

Local news station Local 10 identified the student as 17-year-old Oliver Manik, who allegedly sent a message in a chat room with other students around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"I feel like school shooting tmrw (tomorrow)," said the text message according to a probable cause affidavit. "When I sneeze it's a signal go to the bathroom OK. I hope y'all aren't snitches."

A call was then allegedly made to the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) to notify them of the potential threat. The identity of the caller is unknown.

Manik was charged with one count of writing threats to conduct a mass shooting.

After his arrest, his mother defended him by saying the message was a joke and that it was not meant to be taken seriously. She said that the family had been living in another country during the shooting at the school in 2018 that claimed the lives of 17 people.

"He's a normal kid from a normal family and a safe environment," she told local news station WSVN 7. "He doesn't realize the world is not so safe."

However, Stoneman Douglas and the BSO are taking the threat seriously.

"I also want to remind all students and families how seriously any and all threats are taken," Principal Michelle Kefford said in a robocall to parents. "Parents, please speak with your children to remind them that any threat, even if they think it is a joke, will result in serious consequences."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Stoneman Douglas 2018
A Parkland, Florida, student has been arrested for allegedly making a mass shooting threat toward Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Above, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to the school on February 15, 2018, following a deadly shooting at the school the previous day. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File

Investigators found the student at his home, and he was arrested early Thursday, sheriff's officials said.

Stoneman Douglas has been at the center of national debate and activism over gun violence in schools.

"In my country, schools are very safe. Our mindset is very peaceful. He just wanted to show up among his friends," Manik's mother said. "It's not an excuse for his behavior. It's just an explanation for his behavior. All threats must be investigated. I understand that."

Newsweek previously reported that Nikolas Cruz, the former Stoneman Douglas student who committed the Valentine's Day massacre, pleaded guilty to the killings in October. Many parents of students killed in the shooting have advocated for Cruz to receive the death penalty. His sentencing will be determined in early 2022.