(Citrus County, FL) At approximately 11:30 A.M., the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office was contacted in reference to a possible student with a gun at Lecanto High School. The initial report came from a student on campus, and upon notification, school officials placed the school into lockdown. The School Resource Deputy (SRD) and Citrus County School Board Guardian quickly responded, and after an initial search and questioning, it was determined that there was no existing threat.

Officials learned that during the class dismissal period, a student shouted, “He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun.” Instantly after shouting this statement, fearful students began running through the hallway to exit and seek shelter. As a result, one student was trampled and promptly transported for medical treatment while other students sustained minor injuries.
Deputies identified the student who shouted, “He’s got a gun,” and while being interviewed, the student admitted to making the statement. The student stated they never witnessed anyone with a gun, just another student pulling out a cell phone and merely made a joke. The student was arrested for violating Florida State Statute 790.163, False report concerning planting a bomb, an explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction or concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner, a second-degree felony and charged with the disruption and interference with a school function, a second-degree misdemeanor violating Florida State Statute 877.13.

"The duty to protect and serve Citrus County citizens begins with our youth, and we will do everything it takes to safeguard them. Threats are nothing to joke about,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “Students, parents, and staff can take comfort in knowing that the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is ready and on high alert at all times for any threats on our school campuses. We have our highly trained School Resource Deputies staged at every school in the county to maintain a safe learning environment."

We want our parents and community to know that these types of incidents at our schools will NOT be tolerated. The safety of our students and school personnel is of the highest priority to our office. Parents and/or Caregivers, we would like to encourage you to speak with your children about the severity of making a school threat, even in a joking matter. Threats are NO joke and carry criminal charges.

As always, students can report suspicious activity to their School Resource Deputy, school officials, our office directly by calling 9-1-1, or through our non-emergency line at (352)249-2790.