A 15-year-old boy was arrested over a threat of copycat killings posted to Instagram after the Florida high-school shooting

  • An unnamed teenage boy was arrested over threats made after America’s latest mass shooting.
  • Officials say he threatened to kill people and listed numerous schools.
  • All the schools were in the same district as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where 17 people were killed Wednesday.
  • Detectives said he told them the post was a joke to scare his cousin.
  • If prosecuted and convicted, he could spend five years in prison.

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in Florida after authorities say he claimed online that he was planning a follow-up attack to the mass shooting in Broward County last week.

Sheriff’s deputies took the boy into custody after the post, made on Instagram, was reported to them.

The sheriff’s office said the threat was posted less than 48 hours after the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which 17 people were killed. They said the boy used the post to say “he was going to kill people” and “listed various schools” that could be his target.

They said that when detectives arrested the boy, he “appeared to be remorseful and claimed his post was a joke aimed at scaring his cousin.” They did not publish his name.

He is facing a charge of “sending a written threat to kill,” a third-degree felony in Florida. Such crimes have a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, has been charged with last week’s killings and could face the death penalty if convicted. Cruz was arrested in the hours after the shooting and remains in police custody.

The sheriff’s office has said Cruz confessed to the shooting. Cruz’s defence lawyer has said Cruz will “never see the light of day again” and will probably plead guilty to the murder charges if he is spared the death penalty.

Read all Business Insider’s coverage of the Florida shooting and its aftermath here.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.