Florida student arrested for using Instagram to try to have school staffer killed, says he was ‘joking around’: Authorities

WFTS(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A Florida high school student is under arrest after authorities say he used social media to solicit someone to kill a school staffer.

Nicholas Godfrey, 18, is accused of sending Instagram direct messages to a fellow student at Fivay High School in Pasco County, according to Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS.

"I need a guy who could kill someone," Godfrey wrote, according to police.

He indicated that he would give the student $100,000 for the staff member's head.

"No joke, I need him eliminated as soon as possible," Godfrey allegedly wrote.

Police traced the messages to Godfrey by obtaining a search warrant for his Instagram account, which revealed an IP address associated with Godfrey's residence.

Godfrey admitted sending the messages and freely showed them to detectives on his phone, but said that he was wasn't serious about the plan, police said.

"After speaking with Mr. Godfrey, he did not have any clear direction or, I guess, plan to follow through with this ... but more he was joking around," Pasco County Detective David Dacey said Friday.

Godfrey also didn't appear to have the means to carry out the threat, authorities said. Nevertheless, police said what he did was a crime.

"There's going to be zero tolerance. You threatened a member of a school district who's out there trying to do their job to educate children and be part of that process, we're going to come hunt you down. We will track you down," said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco. "The very sad part of the situation is that when the investigators, when Detective Dacey got there, the parents were shocked because the parents had no idea, and that’s a sad reality of what’s going on."

Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning also called on parents to be more aware of their kids' behavior online.

"I have pled with parents to know what your kids are doing on social media and who they’re talking to. It’s a community effort." Browning said. "The issues at Fivay High School, I will tell you, oftentimes schools get blamed for what’s going on, but I will tell you we are a microcosm of the communities in which we serve."

Godfrey was arrested for attempting to solicit murder and booked in the county jail, according to authorities.

“It doesn’t matter what the intent was,” Nocco said. “When you do it and post it on social media, the crime is committed.”

Police did not identify the school staffer who was the target to Godfrey's threat, but said that he had been provided additional protection as a precaution.

The school also planned to bring in an additional resource officer next week, authorities said.

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