Two middle school boys were arrested Wednesday after they allegedly planned a “Columbine-style” mass shooting at their school.
The 13 and 14-year-old boys planned to shoot up The Villages Charter Middle School in Florida on January 27. Staff at the middle school learned of the boys’ plans when they heard students talking about it in the hallways.
Some of the boys’ peers were told not to come to school that day for their safety. The teens were allegedly plotting to kill anyone “not wearing a white t-shirt.”
Authorities attained search warrants and raided the boys’ homes on Wednesday, and the teens were arrested a short time later. Police found firearms at both of the homes, though no firearms were found in either of the boys’ lockers or bags.
The first of the pair to be detained was the 13-year-old who admitted to talking about the plot. The boy referred to the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School during questioning. Police learned about the 14-year-old’s involvement in the plot from the younger boy. The 13-year-old allegedly told him “imagine if that was me shooting.” The teen told authorities that he and his partner had a “signal” to alert the other when to start shooting.
The two teens both claimed that the plot was a joke and cried as they were being arrested. One of the boys said that he wanted to end his life and that he was “depressed.”
“I just want to die.”
After the boys were arrested, authorities said that they planned to increase the presence of law enforcement at the school on Friday. They did not anticipate any more arrests in connection with the mass shooting plot.
The teens face charges of conspiracy to commit murder. They’re in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.