Southwest Florida teen brought knife, hit list to school, deputies say

Benjamin Mendoza, 18, had map of school, list of students in backpack

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor

Benjamin Mendoza, 18, is accused of bringing a knife and a list of student names to Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples.

NAPLES, Fla. - A southwest Florida high school student was arrested Monday after he brought a knife and a backpack filled with, among other things, a note that said "shoot up school," deputies said.

Benjamin Mendoza, 18, faces charges of possession of a weapon on school grounds and disruption of a school function.

According to a Collier County Sheriff's Office news release, deputies received a tip Friday -- two days after the Parkland school shooting -- that Mendoza had brought a gas mask to Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples the day before "and had previously made disturbing comments about the Las Vegas mass shooting."

Detectives said they found several items inside Mendoza's backpack, including a realistic-looking Los Angeles Police Department badge, a map of Palmetto Ridge High School, a note that said "shoot up school" and "school shoot animae dead," and a list of student names. Detectives said the list included a drawing of a student with bullet holes to the chest and the words "dead ha ha dead" written on the back of the paper.

Investigators said there was also a notebook in Mendoza's backpack that contained stories and drawing depicting students as victims, as well as suspects in murders and other crimes.

Detectives interviewed witnesses who said they saw Mendoza with the gas mask in class Thursday and also saw a knife in his bag.

Seventeen people were killed last Wednesday in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

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