2 teens arrested for false school shooting report

4:21 PM, May 19, 2012   |    comments
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Two teens have been arrested after police say they used a stolen two-way radio to report a shooting at Winter Haven High School on Friday.

Mathew Sowell, 17, a former student at the school, and 16-year-old Keegan Hamlett, a current student, allegedly told school officials over the radio that a shooting had taken place on campus and that an ambulance was needed. Police say the transmission was full of static, but those who heard it believed it to be a faculty member making the call.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Winter Haven Police Department used K-9 units and air support to conduct an intensive search of the school, but found no evidence of an altercation.

Students and faculty were detained for more than two hours while the building was completely searched room by room.

Police say a tip led them to Sowell, who reportedly confessed to using the radio to make the false report. He told detectives he threw the radio in a lake.

During the investigation, police say they learned Hamlett was involved as well.

Both teens are charged with false report of commission of crime, disruption of school function, tampering with evidence, disorderly conduct, petit theft, and criminal mischief. Sowell also was charged with violation of probation.

Winter Haven Police Department

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