Middle School Shooting Foiled

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

A foiled school shooting plot is always a good thing. I wish there would be more press time and evaluation about what lead to the plot in the first place.

BLOG POST #156: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two middle school boys.

Hear Something—Say Something

When a student overheard a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old plotting a Columbine-style shooting for a specific Friday in January, the student reported the information to authorities.

Authorities detained the boys, searched their lockers, backpacks, and their homes. Officers seized electronic devices and equipment.

No guns were found at the school. However, loaded guns were found at both homes.

Big Talkers

The boys had made braggadocios type posts on social media. When questioned by law enforcement, both said they were joking.

In a K-12 school district with an enrollment close to 3,000 – more than 500 students stayed home on the day the shooting was to occur.

The alleged plan was to coincide with the school distributing t-shirts to students. There are mixed reports about whether the plan was to shoot kids in the gymnasium during breakfast or in the gymnasium at a basketball game. Also conflicting was whether the boys planned to shoot kids wearing the t-shirts or shoot kids not wearing the t-shirts.

When the 13-year-old, also referred to as the ‘ringleader,’ dropped a pencil it would have been the signal to begin shooting.

No Joking Matter

Both boys were taken into custody and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Rather than go to trial, both boys accepted a plea agreement.

The 14-year-old pleaded guilty to Interfering with a School Function and received probation until he’s 18.

The 13-year-old pleaded guilty to Using a Two-Way Communication Device to Facilitate the Commission of a Felony (Instagram account). The judge sentenced him to serve probation until age 19. The judge also banned him from the middle school, limited his internet use, and ordered him to attend a military academy until graduation—restricting his contact with juveniles to relatives or students at the academy. Additionally, he can’t possess guns, reside in a home with guns, must undergo a mental health exam and receive necessary treatment.

Worth mentioning: Five years before to the school shooting plot, the 13-year-old’s father was arrested for domestic violence. As a result, the boy received a mental health evaluation because he witnessed the event. His mother did not want to press charges against the father. Charges were dropped.

When law enforcement served the search warrant at the 13-year-old’s home looking for evidence about the school shooting plot, drugs belonging to his mother were found. His mother was arrested. She agreed to a one-year intervention contract requiring her to refrain from alcohol consumption, not consume or possess drugs, be prepared at any time to a breathalyzer, blood or urine test. She was also required to undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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