Winter Park police arrested a 15-year-old for carrying a handgun in his backpack at the Winter Park 9th Grade Center on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
According to a statement from the Winter Park Police Department, numerous officers assisted school resource officers “who immediately began the process of identifying the student with the information that was received. Very quickly officers were able to locate the student, make contact, and place him in custody at the Winter Park 9th Grade Center located at 528 Huntington Ave.”
Officers found a gun and a magazine with three bullets in the student’s backpack. The school was on lockdown during the search and no one was hurt.
The arrest was the result of a tip submitted on FortifyFL, a reporting tool created as part of the state’s response to the Parkland school shooting where 17 students and staff members were killed. The app allows students to remain anonymous while reporting suspicious activity directly to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and school officials.
“We tend to get tips periodically,” Lt. Lisa Suepat of the Winter Park Police Department told the32789. “The tips are immediately received via text and email so they can be quickly reviewed once sent. Notification in this incident showed how valuable the technology is for students to report what they see and hear, so law enforcement and staff can investigate in a timely matter.”
Police say the 15-year-old, whose name is withheld from this story due to his age, was arrested for possession of a firearm on school property, which is a 3rd degree felony, and disruption of a school function, which is a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
“We would like to thank the student who did the right thing and quickly reported their observations to Fortify Florida,” noted the WPPD statement. “We continue to strongly encourage our students ‘if you see something, say something’ to school officials or via the Fortify Florida app immediately upon witnessing any activity or observation of concern.”