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Father of 10-year-old accused of shooting threats calls for charge to be dropped

Dereck Marquez says his son sent a series of innocent text messages
10-year-old threat charges
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 06:09:24-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A 10-year-old Lee County boy, charged with making threats of a mass shooting at his elementary school, will face a judge on Monday.

Dereck Marquez says his son sent, what he calls, a series of innocent text messages to a classmate.

But the Lee County Sheriff’s Office deemed those texts to be threatening.

On Memorial Day weekend, the Sheriff’s Office released a video on social media showing the boy, handcuffed, being put into the back of a patrol car.

While the Sheriff’s Office has released the boy’s name and picture, Fox 4 is not identifying him due to his age.

“What the sheriff did was make sure it was public and permanent in the media,” said Marquez.

“Whatever is on the internet is forever. There’s no way to take it down. Period. He basically, in a way, crucified my son for life.”

Marquez says his son is still traumatized after being arrested and spending nearly two weeks in juvenile detention.

The text messages, according to the father, included a picture of money, guns, and then later the message, “get ready for water day.”

Sheriff Carmine Marceno says these texts constituted a threat.

“I’m gonna be known as the Sheriff that is consistent with his message of no-nonsense, zero tolerance. And also, the Sheriff who is doing everything possible to tell parents and guardians that we’re here to help you,” Marceno told Fox 4 soon after the arrest.

The text messages and arrest came just days after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, TX.

The Lee County State’s Attorney’s office has charged the 10-year-old with one count of a written threat to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism.

“My son is innocent. My son did nothing wrong. All he said was he got ahold of a bazillion dollars and bought firearms,” Marquez said.

Soon after the video went viral, Letitia Kim, the Managing Director of the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, FAIR, reached out to the family.

“He was wrongfully arrested because he never made any threats of any kind,” said Kim, who added the agency has not ruled out a civil lawsuit.

They claim the boy’s civil rights were violated.

“He was taken from his home. Thrown into detention for almost two weeks behind bars. And then put under house arrest and now he can be paraded through court and charged with a second-degree felony,” Kim said.

“It’s unconscionable.”

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