Winter Haven detective talks about helping stop possible school threat in Kansas

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — A Winter Haven detective is being praised for helping track down a Kansas teenager accused of threatening to shoot up his school.

Detective Charles Bolton was off duty when he saw a concerning Facebook post. A resident in Pasco County had shared a PlayStation 4 gamer’s Facebook post. The post contained photos of guns with the caption, “Shooting up my school tomorrow.”

“He didn’t have to do this. He was already off,” Winter Haven Police Spokesman Jamie Brown said. “He had been contacted, so immediately he knew the urgency, and he took it one step further. Not in our jurisdiction, but he was going to make sure he had a resolution to this.”

Detective Bolton contacted the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to find the resident who had shared the post.

“I had somebody go out to that address and make sure to confirm this was something that was real,” Detective Bolton said. When that was confirmed, he kept digging.

He contacted PlayStation to find out where the post originated. PlayStation confirmed it received multiple complaints against the poster within the hour. Due to the urgency of the post and the immediate threat to the safety of a school, they released the information.

The IP address was registered to Time Warner, so the detective worked with them to get the address and identity of the person.

“Because of the exigent circumstances, they were able to give me the address and the name on the account that they had. I found out that that was in Leavenworth, Kansas,” Bolton said. “It was a 16-year-old.”

And the detective didn’t stop there. “I sent Leavenworth PD out there,” he said.

Authorities there went to the user’s home, and the teen admitted to making the threat.

Inside the teen’s house, detectives found a Black Ops pellet gun, which they said looked like a very large revolver, and a Crossman BB gun with a scope on it. Both of the guns were included in the teen’s threatening post.

The teen claimed the post was a joke. He was arrested on a felony criminal threat charge.

As to why he worked so hard on a case out of his jurisdiction,  Bolton said he didn’t want to risk seeing another school shooting.

“You see things on the news all the time about schools getting shut up and stuff like that, and I don’t want to see that on the news later. So I decided it needed to happen right then, so I contacted them myself,” he said. “It prevented something from happening I like to think.”

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