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Florida Teens Charged With Plotting ‘Columbine-Style’ Mass School Shooting

© Photo : The Lee County Sheriff’s OfficeThe Lee County Sheriff’s Office
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.09.2021
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The two middle-schoolers were detained on Thursday for a mental health evaluation after a school resource officer at Harns Marsh Middle School was notified that a student had a gun in his backpack.
Two teenagers have been accused of plotting to commit a mass shooting at a Florida middle school.
Connor Pruett, 13, and Phillip Byrd, 14 were taken into custody on Saturday and placed at a juvenile detention facility where they will be held for 21 days after a judge said he believed the two teens committed a juvenile act.

"This could have been the next Parkland massacre, but we stopped them in the planning stages," Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said during a press conference, in a referrence to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

© AP PhotoIn this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., evacuate the school following a shooting, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
In this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., evacuate the school following a shooting, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.09.2021
In this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., evacuate the school following a shooting, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
Marceno added that his team of deputies and detectives had acted to prevent “a very violent and dangerous act from being carried out” at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres.

‘Columbine’-Style Plot

Earlier in the week, a school resource officer at the school was notified that one student was purportedly hiding a gun in his backpack. While investigators failed to find any weapon on Thursday, what they did come across was a map of the school's security cameras, the sheriff's office is cited as saying.
A further investigation discovered the teens appeared to have been studying the 20 April 1999, Columbine massacre, when two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher before committing suicide. That attack, which made "Columbine" a byword for school shootings, also involved several homemade bombs.
© AP Photo / David ZalubowskiStudents from Columbine High School are led away from the facility after two gunmen went on a shooting rampage Tuesday, April 20, 1999, in the southwest Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo.
Students from Columbine High School are led away from the facility after two gunmen went on a shooting rampage Tuesday, April 20, 1999, in the southwest Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.09.2021
Students from Columbine High School are led away from the facility after two gunmen went on a shooting rampage Tuesday, April 20, 1999, in the southwest Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo.
“Columbine” is believed to have inspired several copycats attacks. In 2018, a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead and 17 others wounded.
Lee County authorities claim the two schoolchildren in custody had been trying to figure out how to make pipe bombs and buy firearms on the black market. A search of the students' homes revealed a gun and several knives.
Furthermore, the sheriff's office said the teen suspects were “well-known” after multiple calls for disturbances at their homes.
Phillip Byrd’s mother, Carrie Tuller, defended her son as just a “little boy… who didn’t think this was really serious.” The next court date for the teenagers is scheduled for September 27.
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