BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced the arrests of five Hernando High School students Friday following a botched plot to sell the gun at school.
According to the sheriff, a 15-year-old student stole the gun from a family member and passed it to a friend on a school bus Thursday morning.
That student then met three other students in the bathroom, where the transaction was supposed to take place. The supposed buyers, however, had other plans.
"Our information is that they conspired to steal the gun," Nienhuis said.
The three teenagers took the gun and took off. According to the sheriff, one of them eventually took the gun to a relative's house and hit it under a mattress.
"Because the gun was taken off campus there, it doesn't appear in hindsight that they intended on doing anything that particular day. Of course, we have no idea what their intent was in the future," the sheriff said.
Behind the scenes, students and parents were notifying authorities about the weapon on campus.
Deputies were able to quickly identify the students who were involved and arrest all five of them. They located the weapon that was brought to school, which was hidden with two other rifles and a B.B. gun.
"Thank goodness that we have parents, in this case, and students that were willing to step up and do the right thing," Nienhuis said. "If it were not for the parents that were involved and the students that were involved we certainly would not be where we are in the investigation and we certainly would not be able to have prevented something bad in the future from happening with those guns."
"Do not make these decisions," added Hernando County Schools Superintendent John Stratton. "Don't bring a weapon on campus. Don't make threats because serious consequences are going to happen as a result of that."
It's unclear what the students who stole the gun planned to do with it.
The teenagers arrested range in ages from 15 to 17 years old. All face felony charges and could be expelled from school.