2 Middle School Students Arrested in Alleged Columbine-Style School Shooting Plot

The 13- and 14-year-old male students had a map of the school, had conducted research on Columbine and attempted to buy weapons on the black market.

2 Middle School Students Arrested in Alleged Columbine-Style School Shooting Plot

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Lehigh Acres, Florida – Two middle school students were arrested last week for allegedly plotting a Columbine-style shooting on their campus.

The teens’ Harns Marsh Middle School substitute teacher, Laura Davis, turned them in after hearing a rumor in her classroom that there was going to be a school shooting, reports WINK. She also believed one of the suspects had a gun in his backpack. Davis did what she was trained to do: tell an administrator, despite one of the suspects telling her the rumor was just a joke.

The suspects have been identified as a 13-year-old and 14-year-old. The boys are suspected of planning to murder others before taking their own lives, reports NBC 2. They allegedly tried to recruit other students in the plot, but they all declined. The attempts at recruitment happened during classes, in the cafeteria and in Zoom meetings.

Additionally, authorities say the boys researched the 1999 Columbine mass shooting and tried to buy weapons on the black market. They also were trying to learn how to make pipe bombs.

Officials found a map of the school that indicated the location of the campus’ interior security cameras, reports CNN. Additionally, when the suspects’ homes were searched, detectives found a gun and several knives.

One of the suspect’s parents, however, say their son wouldn’t hurt anyone and that the gun found in his possession was a BB gun, reports WFLA. But authorities believe the boys were very close to carrying out an attack.

Since their arrest, the teens have been released after undergoing a mental health evaluation. They must serve 21 days in juvenile detention and not communicate with the school or each other. A judge will rule on the next steps. Their next court date is September 27, reports CNN.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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