A math teacher and former Marine was placed on administrative leave in Florida earlier this week after he boasted to students that there would be a 1,000-person body count if he attacked the school, according to court documents.
Keith Cook, 51, allegedly told students at Lakeland High School during a lockdown emergency drill that “he would be the best school shooter” because he would plant explosive devices before firing a “couple rounds and wait for everyone to hide, then press a button and boom — everyone would die,” according to a report filed by Detective Justin Conaster, in which he requested a protective order against Cook from Polk County Court.
“He said he would have a 1,000-person body count and be a hero,” Conaster wrote.
Cook, who has not been charged, was taken Monday to a local mental health facility, according to the Lakeland Ledger. The school district and police have launched an investigation.
The chilling incident rattled teens and parents as a number of states, including Florida, step up programs to arm teachers as a strategy to protect students from school shooters. Trump wants 20% of teachers to be armed — even though 59% of Americans don’t think teachers should have guns in schools. Critics say teachers are not trained law enforcement officers and are not screened for their ability to be able to effectively handle a gun in dangerous situations.
Earlier this month two first graders accessed a gun intended for school safety in an administrative office next to an elementary school in Ohio.
Cook’s description of his theoretical attack was reported by parents to the school principal. When Conaster questioned him, Cook insisted he was only joking, The Ledger reported.
Cook has no prior criminal history, nor did authorities find any weapons in his car or home, according to the newspaper.