Suspect arrested for false shooting threat against Dunnellon Middle

Swatting calls were made from Canada, officials say

Students and witnesses are interviewed by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office as they wait to be released after the report of an active shooter at Dunnellon Middle School in Dunnellon, Fla. on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2024.

Home » Safety
Posted March 25, 2024 | By Caroline Brauchler

An arrest has been made in the February case of a threat against Dunnellon Middle School.

William Tuckett, 20, was arrested Wednesday at his residence in Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada after making dozens of calls reporting false threats to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service.

On February 16, officials say Tuckett called 911 operators and told them he was driving to Dunnellon Middle School with a gun with the intent to shoot students and staff.

MCSO placed Dunnellon Middle School and surrounding schools on lockdown and investigated the threat but found nothing and deemed the school clear of danger.

The following day, Tuckett is said to have called 911 in Marion County again to say he was holding a person hostage at gunpoint at a home in Ocala.

MCSO worked with the authorities in Sault Ste. Marie to identify Tuckett as a suspect, saying his “actions stemmed from his belief that he was in an online relationship with a 13-year-old resident of Marion County. When communication with the victim ceased, Tuckett resorted to making hoax calls, threatening public safety until the victim resumed contact with him,” according to MCSO.

Authorities uncovered a number of false phone calls and threats that could be linked back to Tuckett, according to Sault Ste. Marie Police.

Tuckett was apprehended by Canadian authorities and charged with three counts of public mischief and three counts of conveying false information.

“Through this collaborative effort by both the Office of the Sheriff and Sault Ste. Marie Police Services, we were able to apprehend the individual responsible for these dangerous hoaxes,” said Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods. “Public safety is paramount, and we will not tolerate actions that jeopardize the well-being of our communities.”

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