Horizon Academy hoax 911 caller arrested

11-year-old facing felony charges after falsely reporting active shooter

Authorities deemed there to be no threat at Horizon Academy after a false 911 call was made reporting an active shooter on Tuesday. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.

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Posted December 7, 2023 | By Caroline Brauchler

An 11-year-old boy has been arrested following a false 911 call reporting an active shooter at Horizon Academy on Tuesday.

The call was made at approximately 9:39 a.m., when the boy used a friend’s cell phone to call 911 and tell the emergency dispatcher that there was a shooter walking through the school’s hallway and coming toward him, Marion County Sheriff’s Office investigators said.

The school was placed on lockdown, and reports emerged from inside the school of seeing blood on the ground in building four. Cpl. Chris Rafferty, the school’s resource officer, reported the blood, which was later deemed to be unrelated to the incident and “likely came from a nosebleed,” said MCSO spokesperson Zachary Moore.

The caller has been arrested on felony charges of falsely reporting a mass shooting and utilizing a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony, in addition to misdemeanor charges of disruption of a school function and misuse of a 911 emergency system, according to the MCSO.


The following is a transcription of the 911 call:

911: “911, what’s the address of the emergency?”

Caller: “Help, there is a school shooter walking through the hallway.”

911: “What school?”

Caller: “Um, Marion Oaks”

911: “What hallway are you in?”

Caller: “Building two”

911: “Marion Oaks Elementary or Marion Oaks High School (Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks)?”

Caller: “He’s coming, he’s coming.”

*Line Disconnects*


After receiving the call, MCSO deployed all available units to the school, including deputies, detectives, SWAT, aviation and K-9s. Additionally, the Ocala Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and state and federal law enforcement agencies responded to the scene.

“A complete search of the school was conducted, which concluded there weren’t any armed assailants, weapons, or injured students or staff. During this search, all school functions ceased, students were evacuated, and students’ and faculty’s fear levels were visible,” according to MCSO.

In addition to the criminal charges, the student or his parents or guardians will be responsible for paying restitution for the cost of the law enforcement response.

“This student put fear into his fellow students, staff, and parents,” wrote Sheriff Billy Woods in an update. “I will not tolerate my young citizens being fearful of going to school because you wanted to be a ‘jokester’ in hopes of going home.”

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