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LCSO uses 'ghost gun' case to exemplify overall school safety plan

marceno school safety
Posted at 7:25 AM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 11:58:44-04

FORT MYERS — Sheriff Carmine Marceno explained the ties between a fatal shooting involving a "ghost gun" and the reasons his office takes school safety extremely seriously.

At a briefing Tuesday, Marceno explained that Andrew Byrd, who built a so-called "ghost gun" that accidentally killed a 17-year-old girl, is the older brother of one of the two teens involved in the September 2021 threat against Harns Marsh Middle School.

Because a judge had ruled the teen should not have further access to firearms, he was arrested July 22 for violating the terms of his probation.

Marceno used that link as an example of why his department has invested so much money in technology, training and other resources to promote safe and secure school campuses.

MORE on the Andrew Byrd 'ghost gun' case

A "ghost gun" is defined by prosecutors as a firearm built with parts purchased online and which has no serial number. It is illegal to own such a weapon in Florida unless it is properly registered.

A judge's ruling states Andrew Byrd has 72 hours from the time of the judge's ruling to hand over possession of the weapons and ammunition.

Fox 4 had asked officials Monday about how they planned to make sure Byrd complies with the Risk Protection Order, or RPO, and were directed to the announcement of this morning's briefing.

Marceno could only say Tuesday that the physical removal of the weapons is the "next step" in their involvement in the RPO process for the younger Byrd.

The Risk Protection Order served on Andrew Byrd states:

Andrew Thomas Byrd is hereby ordered to surrender immediately to law enforcement all firearms and ammunition that he owns or has in his custody, control, or possession and any license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm ... Byrd may not have a firearm in his custody or control, and may not purchase, possess, receive, or attempt to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while this order is in effect.

Given the family ties between the two, Marceno did say that a "full social media sweep" was taken as an added step to provide security for the school.

'A wonderful partnership'

The sheriff was joined at the lectern by Dr. Christopher Bernier, Lee County Schools superintendent, to discuss the back-to-school security preparations taken over the summer.

Marceno said the department has invested in virtual reality headgear, installed with floorplans for each school in the district, that can help teams in cases where entering the school is a necessity.

"Our team has also worked around the clock," said Bernier. "Our staff has worked diligently to secure perimeters, participate in training and make sure that safety protocols are followed each and every day."

Bernier said partnerships with local law enforcement were appreciated. "We are ready for Day One," he said.