Police: replica gun found after threat at Taravella High School, 1 in custody

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Coral Springs police have taken a juvenile into custody after a high school was placed on lockdown due to a gun threat just days after a social media threat.

Students at J.P. Taravella Senior High School said they were in fear for their lives and their parents were trying to figure out what was happening as a heavy police and fire rescue presence investigated on campus.

According to some students, the juvenile was bullied in school.

7’s SkyForce HD flew over the scene, Thursday morning, at Taravella High School, located at 10600 Riverside Drive. According to Coral Springs police, a phone call went in at around 7:30 a.m. that a person was inside the school with a gun.

Police have since taken one juvenile into custody for questioning. A replica gun was also found by someone on campus, police added, which triggered the response by officials.

“As of now, one person has been detained, and they’re questioning this person,” said Coral Springs Detective Ernesto Bruna. “They did find a replica of a handgun in the school, so the investigation is still ongoing.”

A Code Red lockdown was issued shortly after the threat. School board officials have since lifted the Code Red and have allowed students to leave the campus but have kept the campus on a modified lockdown.

“As I’m walking, they’re like, ‘Code Red’ on the speaker, and our teacher’s like, ‘Run, run,'” said student Nydrique Allah.

Student Gabriel Nunez said he was not sure what to do, so he joined other students and ran away. “I seen everybody run out the main building and start jumping gates,” he said, “so I jumped the gate and called my mom.”

Students were instructed by police to put their hands behind their heads until everyone was searched.

Parents rushed to the school once they heard what happened.

“She’s scared, but I keep telling her that everything’s OK,” said parent Amy Moret. “I don’t know. It’s nerve-racking as a parent.”

Parent Cherie Zangwill said she’s confused by the situation that unfolded. “Somebody needs to figure out what’s going on,” she said. “I mean, this is insanity.”

As for the rest of the week, Zangwill said of her child, “No. I already told her she’s not going to school tomorrow.”

Nunez also added he does not want to attend class Friday. “You never know what can happen,” he said.

Some students were bused to the Coral Springs Gym, located at 2501 Coral Springs Drive for parent pickup.

“Our school resource officer contacted our department, which dispatched additional patrol officers to the school,” said Bruna. “A search of the school was conducted, room by room.”

Cell phone video sent to 7News showed officers inside a classroom with their assault rifles drawn while conducting their search.

The parents of the students stuck at J.P. Taravella were told to pick them up at the campus.

“It is ridiculous,” said grandparent Deborah Azrikan. “I mean, the kids are supposed to go to school to learn, not to be frightened to go to school.”

Several students 7News spoke with said that the juvenile was being bullied in school. “They always bully him,” said classmate J.J. Rubin. “They’d be like, ‘Oh, nah, git, you stink,’ ‘Git, you all that,’ ‘You dirty.'”

One parent said these threats should not be the normality. “I’m disgusted. Two days ago, we had the incident where a kid was posting something online about a shooting here at the school. I didn’t know what’s going on with these kids nowadays,” said Nathan Moret. “They think it’s funny. They think it’s a prank.”

Taravella High principal Jason Nault sent an email to his staff, which read:

Please remain calm and keep your students calm, as well. The campus is infiltrated with police, and they are doing a sweep of the campus and respective buildings. The student of interest is a black male, with a red polo, he may have a white or yellow microfiber cloth or rag on his waistline. If you have this student in your classroom, please do not confront him or panic.

A photo was sent to 7News by a parent that showed students inside of a classroom using chairs and desks to block the entrance to a classroom.

Photo: 7News Viewer
Photo: 7News Viewer

Officials have reopened Riverside Drive in both directions after the it was shut down.

No injuries have been reported.

The suspect’s identity has not been released. He has been charged with disrupting a school function, which is a misdemeanor. Officials transported him to the Juvenile Assessment Center Thursday afternoon.

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