Two Florida students have been charged after allegedly plotting a shooting inspired by the Columbine High School massacre.
The two teenage boys, aged 13 and 14, were arrested and charged on Thursday, September 9, with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting at Harns Marsh Middle School (HMMS) in Lee County. It’s located just two hours away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman killed 17 people in 2018.
Their alleged plan is said to have involved pipe bombs, with coordinated attacks based on where CCTV cameras were based inside the school, outlined on a map found by administrators who were concerned over a possible concealed firearm in a bag.
No weapons were found, but investigators said the boys ‘were involved in a plot to carry out a school shooting’, The Independent reports. Firearms and other weapons were later found in their homes.
HMMS’s principal Alex Dworzanski said, ‘I commend the students who came forward to report the threat and the quick action of the staff. The safety of our students and staff is at the core of what we do.’
‘Detectives learned that the students took an interest in the Columbine High School shooting. They were extensively studying to learn more about the incident and the shooter. Detectives also learned that the students were attempting to learn how to construct pipe bombs, and how to purchase firearms on the black market,’ Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.
‘This could’ve been the next Parkland massacre. We were one second away from a Columbine here. I’m certain that my team of dedicated deputies and detectives acted promptly, investigated thoroughly, and prevented a very violent and dangerous act from being carried out.’
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher in a mass shooting at Columbine High School, with 21 others injured by gunfire and three others hurt in the chaos. They also brought homemade bombs which failed to detonate. The two teens killed themselves at the scene. At the time, it was the deadliest high school shooting in US history.
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