Lee County 18-year-old arrested, threatened student with mass shooting
A high school student is behind bars after he threatened a middle school student with shooting up her school and more after she declined to go to prom with him. Police say the middle school student didn’t ignore the threats and may have saved many lives.
Fort Myers Police Department arrested 18-year-old Carlos Gutierez, an East Lee County High School student, after a Paul Lawrence Dunbar Middle School student says he sent her text threats after she didn’t accept an early prom invitation.
“We want every student who sees something that looks odd, comes across a suspicion, makes them worry about their safety and the safety of others to report that,” said Rob Spicker, assistant director of media relations and public information. “Because that’s the only way you can find out if there’s really something going on and prevent it from happening.”
Gutierez was arrested for Threatening To Conduct A Mass Shooting. He is accused of targeting the middle school and the 15-year-old’s family.
Police say the middle school student met Gutierez through Snapchat about a month ago, traded numbers and began texting. The 15-year-old told detectives things turned potentially violent after she refused the invitation to prom.
“Everybody appreciates the bravery of doing that because there is peer pressure not to snitch,” Spicker said. “But we have students all the time who see something and report it.”
Dunbar parent Steve Wilczynski told us he is grateful the 15-year-old had the courage to speak up.
“I think that we live in potentially a scary time,” Wilczynski said. ‘And we all have to be vigilant. And any time there’s a suspicious activity happening, reporting it is the right thing to do.”
MORE: ForifyFL “is a suspicious activity reporting tool that allows [users] to instantly relay information to appropriate law enforcement agencies and school officials.”
Although Gutierez was arrested and faces charges as an adult, the threats took place when he was 17 years old. Therefore, a judge sent him to a juvenile detention center. The state attorney’s office is responsible for determining if Gutierez will stand trial as an adult moving forward.
We reached out to the state attorney’s office to see if they have made a decision but have not heard back yet.
Gutierez remains in juvenile detention.