ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A University of Central Florida student, who admitted praising mass shootings and mass shooters online, has become the first local case where police have asked for and obtained a violent threat restraining order.
The student -- whom Channel 9 hasn't identified because he hasn't been charged -- made comments online before and after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
UCF police were alerted to the comments and subsequently tracked down the student.
According to court filings, the student called the Las Vegas shooter “my hero” and the Parkland school shooter “a hero."
Working with the Orlando Police Department, UCF police tracked down the student.
Amid questioning, the student, according to court papers, said if he was going to carry out a shooting, he would think about Odyssey Middle School in Orange County or Lake Nona High School, also in Orange County. But the student said he had done nothing to actually prepare for or plan such a shooting.
Based on these statements, police obtained a violent threat restraining order.
Under the order, the student was forced to turn over any firearms, in this case a weapon belonging to his father, to which he had access.
“The safety of people and of our community, is to me, priority one,” Orlando police Chief John Mina said. “This enables us to possibly prevent something in the future.”
Mina testified in Tallahassee about solutions to school violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting. He said he's pleased with how the new law was implemented, but he admits future changes might be needed.
“All laws and legislation can be improved,” Mina said. “As we move along, this legislation will be strengthened and I applaud that.”
One of the people who would like to see some changes is the attorney representing the UCF student.
“This has all been made public,” attorney Kendra Parris said. “He has committed no crime. If he had made a threat, he didn’t, but if he had made a threat, he could have been charged with a crime. He hasn’t.”
The student, who was evaluated at a mental health facility and released, will be in court later this month for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to extend the restraining order.
Under state law, the student cannot possess a firearm for up to 14 days, when a court would rule.
After that, the person in question could be barred from possessing a firearm for an additional 12 months.
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