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Florida teenagers accused of planning mass college capturing: ‘Second away from a Columbine’

Authorities averted a possible capturing at a center college in Lee County, Florida, after arresting two college students who had been allegedly plotting an assault.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated the 13- and 14-year-old boys had been charged with conspiracy to commit a mass capturing after a sheriff’s division investigation this week discovered they had been devising a plan and “extensively learning” the 1999 Columbine Excessive Faculty capturing, when two college students killed 12 others and a trainer.

“This might’ve turned disastrous. We’re one second away from a Columbine right here,” Mr. Marceno stated throughout a press convention Thursday.

A trainer at Harns Marsh Center Faculty in Lehigh Acres, simply east of Fort Myers, alerted directors and the varsity useful resource officer Wednesday after college students warned that an eighth-grade pupil is likely to be carrying a gun in his backpack, officers stated. College students had been faraway from the classroom, and an administrative search uncovered a map of the varsity with marks indicating the areas of inside cameras however didn’t reveal a firearm, Mr. Marceno stated.

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Detectives recognized one other pupil who was allegedly concerned. The investigators uncovered weapons on the boys’ properties, together with a gun and knives, and proof that they had been attempting to discover ways to make pipe bombs and buy weapons on the black market, authorities stated.

“On this case, I’m sure that my crew of devoted deputies and detectives acted promptly, investigated completely and prevented a really violent and harmful act from being carried out,” Mr. Marceno stated. 

“This might’ve been the subsequent Parkland bloodbath,” he added, referring to the 2018 capturing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty over 120 miles away in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 folks. “However we stopped them within the planning phases.”

The youngsters each meet standards for evaluations at a psychological well being facility, Mr. Marceno stated. The sheriff’s division was aware of the boys already, he stated, and had responded to calls at their properties practically 80 instances altogether.

On the press convention Thursday, Lee County Superintendent Ken Savage thanked college students, educators, college workers and the useful resource officer for responding rapidly to the potential risk. A spokesperson for the varsity district declined to remark additional on Friday.

“All of the threat-assessment and emergency-response coaching made a distinction within the consequence of this incident,” Dr. Savage stated.

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