BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - The Hernando County Sheriff's Office arrested four people Thursday after a student brought a gun to Hernando High School.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis told FOX 13 a student reported the weapon on campus at around 8:45 a.m. Deputies then launched an investigation that involved a few different students.
"The gun did make it on school grounds and it was there for a little bit of time and it was brought by a student," the sheriff said. "It was not an accident and it wasn't accidentally left in somebody's car or anything like that. So it was more of a legitimate concern than some of the ones we've dealt with in the past."
The sheriff said the weapon changed hands at least once or twice before a student ended up taking it off-campus. The student was tracked down by deputies.
"We think that maybe the person who ended up with the gun wasn't actually given the gun. It might have been actually taken from somebody against their will and of course that could have turned very, very bad," Nienhuis said.
The incident triggered lockdowns at Hernando High School, Parrott Middle School, Brooksville Elementary School, and the Hernando County school district offices.
Several parents rushed to the school to take their kids home early.
"I'm over it. I'm done. Tired of hearing about these kids bringing guns to school," said Nicki Fluck, who has two kids in school at Hernando High School. "It was petrifying, is what it is, because we know our kids are stuck in tight spaces, we know the teachers are trying to keep them as safe as they possibly can, we know the school's doing everything that they can, we know the sheriff's office is doing everything that they can. But it's hard not being able to get to your kids in this situation because you're not there to keep them safe and that's our job."
This is now the fourth school threat in Hernando County since the beginning of the school year. The other three involved Central High School, including one this past weekend in which a student from a different school posted a threatening message on Snapchat and included a photo of himself holding a gun that turned out to be an Airsoft BB gun.
Deputies are trying to figure out why the student brought the gun to school Thursday, in the first place.
"Right now, I don't believe necessarily there was an intent to have an active-shooter-type scenario," the sheriff said. "Words are inadequate to express how frustrating it is for everybody involved, even the students get tired of dealing with this."
The sheriff will hold a news conference Friday morning with an update on the investigation.