Four teenagers stored Molotov cocktails and bomb components; wrote a shopping list for weapons and ammunition; and were plotting to attack a school on the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, US officials said.
A 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy have been indicted as adults and two other teenagers face juvenile charges as part of the plan to attack Dunmore High School outside of Scranton in Pennsylvania on April 20, 2024, authorities said.
Investigators said the girl’s mother told police her daughter was “obsessed with Columbine,” The Times-Tribune reported on Friday.
“While the investigation is ongoing, I would like to assure the parents, students and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is an active threat at this time,” the district attorney said. Mark Powell in a statement.
“We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was injured and urge anyone with information about potential threats of school violence to contact the police immediately.”
A Molotov cocktail, bomb components, writings on bomb making and handwritten lists of firearms, ammunition and tactical equipment with prices were found at the girl’s home, investigators said. in a criminal complaint.
The mother of one of the teenagers accused of being an underage discovered text messages on her child’s cell phone on July 6, in which a group discussed plans to “blow up the school”, investigators said in the complaint.
The teenager told investigators he thought it was blustering until he saw 20 to 30 Molotov cocktails on the girl’s porch.
Dunmore Schools Superintendent John Marichak told the newspaper he was dismayed but relieved by the arrests.
A statement posted on the district’s website said authorities assured officials there was “no current danger to students or staff.”
Principal Timothy Hopkins, who was one of the officials targeted, said he knew the two teens accused of being adults and described them as calm kids who were not troublemakers.
He said he had no idea why they would seek to harm him, other than his position as manager.
“It’s a little disturbing to find out that something like this was being plotted,” he told The Times-Tribune.
The two teenagers charged as adults were taken to Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center following their September 16 indictment of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist threat, aggravated assault, criminal association and possession of explosives.
The girl is also accused of risking disaster because of the threat the explosive devices pose to family members and neighbors, police said.