‘The next Parkland’: 2 Fla. middle schoolers arrested in mass shooting plot

Police said fellow students tipped off a teacher, who in turn alerted a school resource officer

By Suzie Ziegler 

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Two boys, 13 and 14, were arrested last week after police said the pair had been "involved in a plot to carry out a school shooting,” according to ABC News. Both boys have been charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting. 

The incident unfolded after fellow students at Harns Marsh Middle School tipped off a teacher about a possible concealed weapon. The teacher then alerted school administrators and a school resource officer, according to the report. 

In a press briefing Thursday, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno described the alleged plot as “the next Parkland massacre.” 

"This could have turned disastrous," Marceno said. "We were one second away from a Columbine here." 

According to Marceno, the two students had been “extensively studying” the 1999 Columbine school shooting and were trying to learn to make pipe bombs. The two boys were already known to police, having been the subject of nearly 80 home visits combined. Searches of their homes found “disturbing evidence, including a gun and several knives,” according to Marceno. 

According to ABC News, both suspects met the criteria for evaluation at a mental health facility, and police will be looking into a risk protection order to restrict firearms access.

NEXT: How Columbine gave rise to threat assessment teams

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