1:54 PM PDT, September 10, 2021
A 13 and 14-year-old have been placed under mental health evaluation for allegedly plotting a mass shooting at a Florida middle school.
Authorities in Lee County got involved after a teacher received a tip that a student may have carried a gun to school. No weapon was found in the student’s backpack, but Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno says there was a map of the school.
“The map contained markings indicating the location of each of the school’s interior cameras,” he notes.
“This could have turned disastrous. We are one second away from a Columbine here.”
Detectives learned that not only had the students taken an interest in the Columbine shooting, but they were extensively studying the incident and the shooters.
Search warrants were executed in both of the suspects’ homes.
Lee County Sheriff’s say the two students are “well known” to law enforcement, as deputies have “responded to their homes for calls almost 80 times combined.”
The suspects had posters of bullets on their walls, along with Confederate flags.
Authorities say they found evidence of a plot along with weapons like guns and several knives.
“Detectives determined they both met the criteria for evaluation at a mental health facility,” Marceno adds. “They will both be charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting.”
The Lee County Sheriff praised the teacher for promptly reporting their concerns, saying they may have stopped a tragedy like the one that happened only 150 miles away at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.