DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — We’re not going to name names — there’s no need to embarrass people more than they likely already are — but BocaNewsNow.com has received the police report from last week’s alleged gun incident at a West Delray Beach community. As readers may recall, a Facebook user posted online that she heard that guns were brought into a clubhouse where kids were playing basketball. The report was strikingly similar to a scene from the Netflix hit, “Thirteen Reasons Why.”
Here’s what we’ve learned from the police report and those familiar with the situation. We are redacting names. What follows is a rough “tick tock” — news speak for “timeline” of what happened.
Saturday evening, June 16th: A woman receives a report from a family member that a teen has guns in a clubhouse where a group of kids is playing basketball. Instead of calling police, she posts it to Facebook.
Saturday evening, an hour or so later: A friend of this woman re-posts the report to a “private” Facebook group dedicated to the specific West Delray community where the basketball game is taking place. Members of that Facebook group decide to not call police, but wait 36 hours for the property manager to deal with the situation.
Sunday, June 17th: BocaNewsNow.com is sent several screenshots from multiple concerned parties of the so-called “private” Facebook group’s posts about the alleged incident.
Monday Morning, June 18th: PBSO is called by the property manager to investigate. BocaNewsNow.com learns that investigators are “surprised” that no one called the police in real-time, opting to post the report of guns to Facebook instead. Investigators review security footage — determine there is nothing confirming the presence of weapons — and then find the original posters. Among the police discoveries, the person with first hand knowledge won’t return calls, the person who posted information to Facebook was nowhere near Delray Beach when this allegedly happened.
Monday Afternoon, June 18th: Police file this narrative (we are redacting names): “I met with the person who made a third party posting on social media. She identified herself to me as (redacted). I asked her if she was present when the incident occurred. (Redacted) stated that she was out of town when this incident supposedly happened and she received the information from (redacted).”
Ongoing: Police have closed the report for now, but are still apparently hoping to speak with the person who was first told about the guns, even though she apparently refuses to return calls from PBSO detectives. We have redacted her name from the police report, above.
We are reminded by PBSO that Facebook is not a place to post real-time crime information — especially if it could involve a potentially active shooter. If you see something, or believe a crime is being (or has been) committed, you have an obligation to call the police, not assign the job to someone else days later.
Folks now needing assistance in Palm Beach County can “text” to 9-1-1, making the process more discrete.
We are also reminded that had an actual crime been committed, it is likely that law enforcement would gain access to all posts and user information in relevant “private” Facebook groups, as Facebook ultimately controls access, not its users. Those names and posts would likely become part of the public record, per Florida statute.
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