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Parrish Community High receives 5th threat over span of a week

The students sheltered in place for thirty minutes while the campus was cleared by law enforcement.

PARRISH, Fla. — Students at Parrish Community High School were placed under a shelter-in-place order Wednesday morning after threats were made.

Manatee County Schools confirmed five threats have been made against the school in the past week. 

The shooting threats were reportedly made through an app called "Fortify Florida."

The students sheltered in place for twenty minutes while the campus was cleared by law enforcement. Parents were notified at the time of the threat and also when the campus was cleared.

"There was a vague threat of a shooting, you know where they don't give a lot of specifics," Manatee County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Randy Warran explained. "But they sheltered and it was cleared in 20 minutes and everything went back to normal."

The same school was evacuated a day before after receiving two bomb threats.

Speaking during a news conference at Parrish Community High School, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said that the person, or people, who made the two bomb threats used the same Fortify Florida app.

"[With this app] you can remain anonymous," Wells said. "The problem that we're having is that when they use the app, the host site might not be in the state of Florida.

"It pushes the information through one host site that's in California and we've located an IP address out in California. We got subpoenas out there now trying to gather that information."

The app is meant to encourage people to submit credible threats through the option of anonymity. But in the case of false threats, it helps conceal criminals. 

"We can only assume it's coming from within our own school system, but we don't know that for a fact as we're still looking through these IP addresses on the threats that were happening at Parrish Community School," Warren said.

Law enforcement says Crime Stoppers of Manatee County is offering a $500 reward for anyone who can give information that will lead to an arrest.

The FBI will be assisting the sheriff's office with their investigation in California and Romania, Wells mentioned. 

Anyone with information regarding the bomb threats is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS. People can also submit a tip at manateecrimestoppers.com.

As the investigation continues, the sheriff's office plans to keep an increased law enforcement presence on the PCHS campus. 

"So we had 10 [deputies] out there this morning and as we feel the need, we will continue to have deputies there," Warren said. "That's a zone we'll have deputies patrolling, plus the SROs that are assigned there, three guardians, there is quite a bit of police presence on that campus."

10 Tampa Bay's Claire Farrow and Leo Santos contributed to this report.

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