Fort Payne school threat suspect captured in Florida

Anthony Kessler (Source: Lee County, Florida Sheriff's Office)
Anthony Kessler (Source: Lee County, Florida Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 28, 2018 at 7:06 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2018 at 5:59 PM CDT
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LEE COUNTY, FL (WAFF) - A 19-year-old who allegedly threatened a shooting at Fort Payne High School was taken into custody in Lee County, Florida.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office reports that Anthony Kessler was arrested on a warrant out of DeKalb County, Alabama. Authorities allege that on March 5, Kessler made terrorist threats to conduct a shooting at Fort Payne High School.

Kessler, a resident of Lehigh Acres, Florida, was found at a restaurant in Fort Myers on Tuesday. He was arrested as an out-of-state fugitive from justice.

Investigators believe he may have relatives in the Fort Payne area.

Police officials say the next step is to have Kessler extradited to Alabama.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office worked with the FBI and Fort Payne Police Department to apprehend him.

"This is an example of cooperation between agencies going above and beyond for the safety of Fort Payne school students," Fort Payne Police Chief Randy Bynum said in a news release.

"We take every threat seriously," said Eric W. Sporre, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division. "The FBI Tampa Field Office continues to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in assessing any and all threats. As always, we will work with our law enforcement partners to gather, share and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention."

"We have been, and continue to be, committed to ensuring a safe environment for our children and for our residents," said Undersheriff Carmine Marceno. "In addition to our own security operations, we are committed to work closely with any and all federal and state agencies in need of our assistance."

More than a dozen officers were at the school earlier this month when a person in New York contacted the FBI about a possible threat to the school they saw in a chat room.

Some residents are upset over the disruptions such actions cause.

"I'm glad that they got caught and I hope they prosecute him. You know it may have been a joke but you know it affected a lot of people," said Fort Payne resident Cleve Chisenhall.

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