Police have arrested a man who they say was making threats on the campus of a Bradenton school.
Jason Kadeem Wilkinson, 24, is charged with threatening to throw, project, place or discharge any destructive device and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
During the Friday morning drop-off at Bradenton Christian School, 3304 43rd St. W., Bradenton, Wilkinson pulled into the school in a gray sedan and began making strange and threatening comments to students, according to Superintendent Dan Vande Pol. Staff alerted the school’s resource officer, but the suspect sped off when the officer approached him.
Bradenton police swarmed the campus, and the school was secured, Vande Pol said.
The school provided police with the car’s license plate number and video surveillance footage that showed Wilkinson was in the car.
Detectives were able the determine the suspect and his address, according to a news release from Bradenton police, and they set up surveillance of the home in the 3300 block of Fourth Street East. When Wilkinson returned in the suspected car, he was taken into custody.
Police say that Wilkinson had an encounter with the sheriff’s office on Thursday during which he was armed, so they feared he was still armed on Friday. Bradenton police did not have details regarding that previous encounter, however, according to spokesman Lt. Brian Thiers.
The sheriff’s office said it responded to the 3000 block of First Street West on Thursday to reports of a gun in the middle of the road, according to spokesman Dave Bristow. Witnesses pointed out Wilkinson to deputies when they arrived, claiming Wilkinson had put the gun in the middle of the road.
Deputies reported Wilkinson told them, “He was instructed by God,” to put the gun in the middle of the road.
Bristow said the sheriff’s office was looking into why Wilkinson was not taken into custody at that time since he is a convicted felon.
In one of multiple emails that went out to parents, Vande Pol said, “We will keep a strong police presence on campus all day today.”
Vande Pol said the school appreciated the Bradenton Police Department’s swift action in responding to the school and apprehending Wilkinson.
The Manatee County School District was alerted of the incident, police said, while Wilkinson was still at large. During the two-hour search, additional law enforcement officers were stationed at each school, and patrols around schools were increased.
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