Two middle school students have been charged with plotting a Columbine-style attack in Lee County, Fla.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said a 14-year-old and 13-year-old from Harns Marsh Middle School are currently in custody after they were arrested and charged on Thursday with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting.
The boys were later identified as Philip Byrd and Conner Pruett.
“These suspects will now face the consequences of their actions,” sheriff Marceno said. “Every single student and staff member in our schools will be safe. See it, say it, make the call.”
School administrators became concerned when they discovered a man of the school the boys had made which included locations of CCTV cameras.
“Detectives learned that the students took an interest in the Columbine High School shooting,” the sheriff said Thursday. “They were extensively studying to learn more about the incident and the shooters.”
“Detectives also learned that the students were attempting to learn how to construct pipe bombs, and how to purchase firearms on the black market,” he said.
Guns and knives were found later in the boys’ homes.
“I’m certain that my team of dedicated deputies and detectives acted promptly, investigated thoroughly, and prevented a very violent…act,” sheriff Marceno said. The sheriff added that deputies from Lee County had responded to calls at both boys’ homes “almost 80 times combined” in the past.
According to courtroom footage which was broadcast by WINK, the mother of one of the students said her son is “just a little boy” who was not seriously plotting anything.
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