Three Creekside High School students have been arrested after Youth Services Unit deputies learned they were discussing a “lethal hit list” targeting multiple students, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said the students — ages 15, 14 and 14 — shared group text messages identifying “target students,” including photographs with faces circled, aerial photographs of Creekside High with an on-campus location circled, and the use of firearms.
The Sheriff’s Office said the messages were considered a credible threat against other students.
Deputies said the “hit list” targeted students the group wanted to physically harm and the “lethal hit list” targeted students the group wanted to kill.
The three teens were charged with written threats to kill or do bodily harm and unlawful use of a two-way communications device.
News4JAX is not identifying the students because of their ages and the nature of the charges.
“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our children and this is another example of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office’s commitment to protect the more than 50,000 students who attend classes on a daily basis,” Sheriff Rob Hardwick said in a news release. “I am proud of the youth services deputies assigned to this investigation, who acted quickly on the information that was provided and prevented a potential tragedy.”
The Sheriff’s Office has two full-time threat assessment deputies assigned to St. Johns County Schools who are specially trained to investigate threats, coordinate resources, and intervene to ensure student and faculty safety.