Teen faces up to 3 years in prison if convicted of threatening to shoot up school

Judge: 'Let me suggest you keep riding that horse on the straight and narrow'


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A teen accused of threatening to shoot up Taravella High School in Coral Springs was back in court Friday. 

"Ahrens, I told you I was going to ride you like a horse, did I not?" Judge Elijah Williams asked Tyler Ahrens.

"Yes, sir," Ahrens said. 

Wearing a suit and tie and freshly shaved, Ahrens, 17, and his father appeared before the judge.

The tough-talking juvenile judge was fresh back from a judicial retreat in Philadelphia and said other judges around the country knew about Ahrens's case, which was not good thing.

The teen is charged with making a false report concerning the use of firearms in a violent manor, which is a second-degree felony.

"Tyler, things around here can either go north or south," Williams said. "If they go north, you are found not guilty and you walk out of here a free man. If they go south, and I find you guilty based on all of the evidence and facts of the law and hearing from your father and so forth, you could be looking at going away for up to three years."

Ahrens pleaded not guilty. 

Police said the teen made a serious threat last month on social media that read: "...I want to be a professional school shooter... (no sarcasm, Broward County, Florida) J.P. Taravella HS is my target, tomorrow. I'M LEGIT NOT JOKING AROUND! SPREAD MY MESSAGE!!!"

On Friday, Ahrens's father said his son had made great strides.

"He is doing fantastic," he said. "He is keeping very busy in school. He is doing well."

The judge was glad to hear it, but told the young man his ride through the justice system was far from over.

"So, until I see you again, let me suggest you keep riding that horse on the straight and narrow. Do you understand?" Williams asked.

"Yes," Ahrens said. 

"Keep your mouth shut and listen to your daddy and counsel and your lawyer. Do you understand?" Williams asked.

"Yes, sir," Ahrens said.