Police: Tampa private school threatened with gun violence by former employee

By Saundra Weathers, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 07, 2018, 10:25 PM EST

A prominent Tampa private school reportedly threatened on Monday, March 5 with gun violence by a former employee had private security and Tampa Police on campus Wednesday, following a modified lock down Tuesday.

  • Aniya Smalls, 23, fired from custodian position on March 5
  • Witnesses reported hearing Smalls threaten to shoot people at school
  • Smalls a contract employee who passed a background check

Police said it started on Monday when 23-year-old Aniya Smalls was fired from her job as a custodian at the Academy of Holy Names. Police say when Smalls was escorted from the school witnesses reported hearing her shout, “I’m coming back and I’m going to shoot this place and all you people up.”

One parent, Jamie Alvarodiaz, said she learned about the threat from a robo call from the school followed by an email.

“My heart sank to my toes, like this can’t be happening to me,” Alvarodiaz said.

Alvarodiaz said her and several other parents kept their kids out of school Tuesday while police searched for Smalls.

“Luckily I was notified and was able to make an informed decision, and it’s very scary," Alvarodiaz said. "It’s very scary. I decided to keep her home just for peace of mind."

She went on to say peace of mind was needed for parents and students after that deadly Parkland shooting last month, and that Smalls should have known better.

“A lot of animosity, a lot of anger. It was just stupidity," Alvarodiaz explained. "Whether she meant it or not, you can’t say things like that. Especially in this day and age, it’s not going to be tolerated and she needs to understand it’s not going to be tolerated."

We’re told the school was placed on a modified lock down on Tuesday until Smalls was arrested. Parents said they received constant updates from the school about the case, and Tampa Police say the school did everything right notifying them of the comments.

Smalls is charged with false report concerning the use of a firearm and violation of probation. In an email to parents, the school said Smalls was employed by a contracted company that performed a background check Smalls passed.

The school says they will be doing those background checks on contracted employees from now on.