Two Florida teenagers are being held in a juvenile detention center after being accused of planning a mass shooting at their school.
The two boys, aged 13 and 14, were said to be researching buying weapons, looking up how to build pipe bombs, and were very interested in the Columbine High School mass shooting from 1999.
The two were charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting.
You can see news coverage here:
Law enforcement investigated the two teenagers. The suspects were both eighth-graders at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lee County, Florida.
Carmin Marceno, the Lee County Sheriff, said of the incident:
"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."
The teens were investigated after some students and a teacher informed authorities one of the boys had a weapon. The deputies who responded to the tip did not find firearms on the suspects, but did continue their investigation.
This led to a map of the school with indication of where the security cameras were located.
@NBCNews 13 and 14 year old students.. sweet Jesus. Kudos to the student who alerted the school.. see something, say something— Shelby 💛 (@Shelby 💛) 1631327643.0
@nypost hope their lives aren't completely ruined i read they will get mental health care don't forget the drugs...— ❤️🔥 Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) (@❤️🔥 Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)) 1631467735.0
A search of the students' homes found "disturbing" evidence, including a gun and several knives.
"This could have turned disastrous. We were one second away from a Columbine here."
The foiled shooting brought up the debate around gun control online.
@NBCNews We need to put a face on gun and bullet makers. Names, pictures. On every gun issue let’s add their info t… https://t.co/GUtQkaIg7p— mark me in 4 U (@mark me in 4 U) 1631289017.0
The two students were known to authorities well, as deputies had visited their homes nearly 80 times over the years.
Lee County Superintendent Ken Savage commended the students and teacher who came forward to warn of the possible attack.
The two students who planned the attack were evaluated at a mental health facility and investigators are looking to restrict their access to firearms.
One of the mothers of the boys said her son is "just a little boy" and didn't think their plans were serious.
Which is understandable for a parent, but people online couldn't get over how often deputies visited the boys' households.
Nearly 80 visits in an unknown period of time?
@WFLA Something is seriously wrong when we have cops going out to children’s homes EIGHTY TIMES. They obviously are… https://t.co/ZJ9lVw4Kdc— barely a spec 🏳️🌈 (@barely a spec 🏳️🌈) 1631313025.0
@WFLA I wanna know why the sheriffs office respond to that home 80 times?— Melvin Forhike (@Melvin Forhike) 1631314586.0
@USAMINDJOB @WFLA That line was treated like a throwaway ~ does it mean there was domestic violence or what?— Sherry B (@Sherry B) 1631360580.0
The boys have been charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting and have been ordered to be held at a juvenile detention center for three weeks.