Teens face felonies for alleged threat on Instagram

- Two teenagers face felony charges after sending a Wharton High School student a video on Instagram that detectives determined Tuesday was a serious threat.

According to Hillsborough County deputies, the video shows a 15-year-old and 17-year-old threatening a 10th-grade student. One of them even flashes a gun.

Ashley Cook's 16-year-old son received the video via direct message on Instagram.

"I was scared for my son's life. I took it very serious. I was appalled," Cook told FOX 13. "I would never imagine my son being sent something like this and it did, it happened. So it's an eye-opener."

Investigators determined neither teenager in the video attends Wharton, but one of them has had a dispute with Cook's son, who was finishing up his school day when he received the video.

He told administrators, who notified the school resource deputy.

"Once she found out about the situation, she actually saw the video, she called the sergeant in District One and it went directly to an assigned deputy," said Danny Alvarez, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Cook said she was asked to call 911 herself and file a report.

Alvarez said this is another example of how social media threats can go too far.

"[It's] another incident where someone is using social media to communicate a threat and even though, in this case, it wasn't a threat against a school per se, this is one of those things that we take very, very seriously," he said. "In this case, words matter. They can get you arrested. And you can go to jail for a felony."

"It's nothing to joke about. It can ruin a lot of lives. These kids are young. They have bright futures and one small mistake can ruin them for a long time," added Cook.

Deputies told FOX 13 they recovered the 9-millimeter handgun. It's unclear to whom it's registered.

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