Police have arrested four Pennsylvania teenagers who were allegedly planning to attack a local high school on the 25th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School nearly Denver, Colo., in 1999.
The Daily Mail reported that the April 20, 2024 plot involves a 15-year-old boy and girl, Zavier Lewis and Alyssa Kucharski, respectively, who are going to be charged as adults, while two other younger teens also face charges in planning to attack Dunmore High School, which is outside of Scranton, according to police.
“While the investigation is ongoing, I want to assure the parents, students and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is any active threat at this time,” said District Attorney Mark Powell in a statement. “We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was hurt and urge anyone who has information about potential threats of school violence to contact police immediately.”
In a criminal complaint, police investigators said they discovered a Molotov cocktail as well as additional bomb components, materials on how to build bombs, and a handwritten list of weapons including guns, ammo, and tactical gear along with prices at the girl’s home.
In what became the first in a series of school shootings over the years, Columbine students Dylan Klebold and fellow senior Eric Harris murdered 12 students and a teacher before turning their guns on themselves. In that attack, a firebomb was also utilized to as a distraction for firefighters and authorities.
The two older students said they “hated” Dunmore High School and wanted “everything to go down like that,” referring to the Columbine attack, WBRE/WYOU reported.
The teens were arraigned in court Friday.
According to the criminal complaints, the mother of one of the teenagers charged as a juvenile in the alleged plot found text messages on the child’s cellphone July 6 showing that the group were talking about how they planned to “shoot up the school.”
The teen told police he believed that the talk was just that — talk — and that nothing serious was to come of it until he found between 20 and 30 Molotov cocktails underneath the girl’s porch.
“I think I’m gonna go with Klebold setup. A Tech-9 and a sawed off shotgun, but instead of a double barrel, I want one like Eric shot,” the girl allegedly wrote in a notebook, according to WBRE/WYOU.
John Marichak, the superintendent for Dunmore schools, was relieved police discovered the plot and made arrests though he expressed shock over the alleged plot. In a statement posted to the district’s website, Marichak informed parents and school officials that there is “no current danger to students or staff.”
One of the school officials who was being targeted in the plot, Principal Timothy Hopkins, told local media he knows the two teens who are to be charged as adults and said they were quiet students who were not troublemakers. He went on to say he couldn’t understand why they would want to hurt him other than because he is the principal.
“It’s a little bit disturbing to find out something like that was being plotted,” he told local media.
Reports said the two oldest teens were transported to Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center after a Sept. 16 arraignment on charges of being domestic terrorist threats, possessing weapons of mass destruction, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, and possession of explosive material charges.
In addition, the female student was charged with risking a catastrophe because of all of the Molotov cocktails and other explosive materials posing risks to family members and neighbors, according to police.
Reports noted that preliminary court hearings are currently scheduled for Oct. 4.
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