Putnam student arrested, accused of threatening school

An anonymous tip was received through the FortifyFL app

Q.I. Roberts Junior-Senior High School
Q.I. Roberts Junior-Senior High School (Google)

FLORAHOME, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 14-year-old student Monday after an anonymous tip alerted deputies of a potential school shooting threat.

Joshua Patterson, 14, of Interlachen is accused of “writing a threatening message to injure or kill” after deputies found a detailed plan including a map of the school, according to a Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with a second-degree felony.

Patterson was removed from class at Q.I. Roberts Junior-Senior High School in Florahome shortly after an anonymous tip came in through the Fortify Florida app, an app used by students to report suspicious activity.

No weapons were found on Patterson or on campus, the Sheriff’s Office said, but a map of the school was found in Patterson’s backpack with a time listed by one of the teacher’s rooms.

“The potential for this student to plan out such a vile act is reprehensible,” Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach said. “While the court system will handle the criminal charges filed against him, it is our hope he also receives the help he so desperately needs to deal with his demons. He is definitely on our radar. The safety of our schools is paramount and we will not waiver in our protection and defense of our students, parents and staff.”

FortifyFL was created by Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Education in response to the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“Seeing the plans this student made to cause harm to teachers and fellow classmates made my blood run cold,” Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach said. “This was an incident where everything went right. The student who used the app did the right thing which allowed deputies and school officials to remove this threat from campus.

After his arrest Monday, Patterson was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Daytona.

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