Two Collier students arrested for possessing weapons on campus

A Corkscrew Middle School student was arrested Monday after a knife was found in the student’s locker.

The boy, 13, faces charges of possession of a weapon on school grounds, which is a felony.

The student’s locker was searched after school officials received a tip that he had posted a photo of a weapon on social media over the weekend, according to the sheriff’s office.

An investigation is ongoing.

Another Collier student was arrested Monday for possessing a knife on school grounds.

Deputies say Benjamin Mendoza, 18, who attends Palmetto Ridge High School, also made comments and possessed item that caused a disruption on campus.

Benjamin Mendoza. Photo courtesy of Collier County jail.

The sheriff’s office says they received a tip that said Mendoza brought a gas mask to school, made disturbing comments about the Las Vegas mass shooting and had unusual items in his backpack including: a realistic looking Los Angeles Police Department badge, a list of names of students with a drawing of a student with bullet holes to the chest and the words, “dead ha ha dead” written on the back of the paper, a small notebook containing stories and drawings depicting students as victims and suspects in murders and other crimes, a map of Palmetto Ridge High School, a note that said, “shoot up school,” and “school shoot animae dead.”

On Monday detectives interviewed witnesses who said they saw Mendoza with the gas mask in class Feb. 15 and also saw a knife in his bag. He was placed under arrest.

Mendoza was charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds and disruption of a school function.

This investigation remains active.

The Collier County Public School District has launched a new website to help report suspicious activity called “KEEP COLLIER SAFE” Initiative that is in cooperation with the sheriff’s department.


Reporter:Jessica Alpern