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Florida teen is arrested after fake bomb threats force disruptions at Ft. Lauderdale airport, multiple schools

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Posted at 6:59 PM, May 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-14 18:59:59-04

(CNN) — A 16-year-old from Dania Beach, Florida, was arrested on suspicion of making a series of false reports of bomb threats at several schools and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, authorities said.

The teenager, who has not been publicly identified, allegedly made the first call to 9-1-1 around 10 a.m., telling an operator, "about to do a bombing at South Broward High School," according to a Broward Sheriff's Office news release. The school, in Florida's Broward County, was then immediately evacuated, authorities said.

Minutes later, according to the sheriff's office, the suspect called 9-1-1 again, "threatening to commit a shooting at South Broward High School and Attucks Middle School," both of which are located in Hollywood, Florida. "As a result, Attucks Middle School was secured in place," the agency said.

"The investigation revealed that in the hours that followed, the teen proceeded to make additional false bomb threats calling into Coconut Creek High School, Blanche Ely High School, Coral Glades High School and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, disrupting everyday functions," the sheriff's office said.

After the calls came in, investigators monitored the cameras at the schools affected, searched all locations and eventually "determined there was no actual threat," authorities said.

Making reports of a hoax or false active shooter, or "swatting," is a disturbing trend that continues to cause disruptions of school life across the country, forcing lockdowns and straining police resources while sowing fear and confusion among students, parents and educators, CNN has reported.

On Friday, multiple agencies worked together and "developed information that led them to the teen, who does not attend any of the schools affected," the sheriff's office said.

The teenager was arrested and taken to the county's Juvenile Assessment Center for processing, and now faces charges of written threats to kill, false report of a bomb or firearm and disruption of a school function, according to the news release.