Former U.S. Marine Keith Cook was Baker Acted following his description of using IEDs in active shooter situation during lockdown drill at school.

LAKELAND — Lakeland High School math teacher Keith Cook allegedly told his students that if he were an active shooter at the school, “he would be the best school shooter because he would plant (improvised explosive devices) ... fire a couple of rounds and wait for everyone to hide, then press a button, and boom everyone would die."

“He said he would have a 1,000-person body count and be a hero,” Lakeland Police Det. Justin Conatser wrote in a petition for a risk protection order filed with the Polk County Clerk of Courts on Monday. Cook, 51, was taken into custody Monday under Florida's Baker Act and transported to Peace River Center, a mental health facility in Lakeland.

It happened last Friday as students were participating in a lockdown drill, a now-routine procedure to teach students what to do if a gunman is on campus.

According to one student, “Cook said he would personally place a bomb in the corner the students were in ... He (went) on to elaborate that he would put nails in the bomb to get everyone in the class.”

Cook is currently on administrative leave from Polk County Public Schools, awaiting the outcome of a district investigation. Judge William Bruce Smith issued a risk protection order on Wednesday, noting that “respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or others in the near future.”

The RPO allows law enforcement to confiscate any weapons Cook might have. Lakeland Police searched his car and home on Crafton Drive and found no weapons.

A student told their parents what Cook had said and the parents called an LHS guidance counselor, who reported the incident to the school's principal, Art Martinez. The principal immediately called in two school resource officers.

Investigators interviewed and/or obtained statements from at least 16 students, who all told the same story of Cook saying he would set off IEDs.

Conatser wrote in the report that he interviewed Cook, who served in the United States Marine Corps, and the teacher allegedly told him that he did tell students he could do a better job by placing IEDs, but that he was joking.

“I asked Cook why in the world would he want a school shooter to do a better job?” Conatser wrote. “He shook his head and said that he, in fact, would not want that now. I said to Cook that being a former Marine, he should be looked at as the person who will protect the students and not make them question whether their teacher is looking to harm them.”

Cook has no prior criminal history. His employment record shows he taught math at Crystal Lake Middle School from December 2008 until July 2014. He has taught at Lakeland High School since November 2014.

“Because this is an ongoing investigation, we have no further comment at this time,” school district spokesperson Rachel Pleasant said Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, PCPS Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said “parents and students should be assured that we take any potential threat against our students and schools seriously. Student safety is — and always will be — paramount within our school district.”

An automated message was sent home Wednesday to alert parents of the situation and tell them their children were safe. But students told police they didn't feel safe.

“In my opinion, I feel like that was not a good thing to say in front of children due to the many situations from these problems,” one student wrote. “I do not know if he is being serious or joking, but it should not be said in front of children.”

Kimberly C. Moore can be reached at kmoore@theledger.com or 863-802-7514. Follow her on Twitter at @KMooreTheLedger.