Two Florida teenagers were put in juvenile detention center after being accused of planning a Columbine-style mass school shooting in Lehigh Acres, The Washington Post reports.
Connor Pruett, 13, and Phillip Byrd, 14, eighth-graders at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lee County were detained on Thursday for a mental health evaluation after a school resource officer in their school was notified that a student had a gun in his backpack.
After a judge said on Saturday he believed the two teens committed a juvenile act, they were taken into custody and placed at a juvenile detention facility where they will be held for 21 days.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said during a press conference that his team prevented a very violent and dangerous act from being carried out.
Marceno stressed that if they didn’t stopped the teenagers in the planning stages, it could have been the next Parkland massacre, referring to 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that has left 17 people dead and 17 others wounded.
Although the school resource officer’s search in the school after the received tip resulted with no weapon being found, they came across a map of the school’s security cameras and discovered later that Pruett and Byrd have been studying the Columbine massacre of 20 April 1999, when two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher.
The further investigation have showed Lee County authorities that the two boys, well-known after multiple calls for disturbances at their homes, have kept a gun and several knives in their possession and were trying to figure out how to make pipe bombs and buy firearms on the black market.
Both teenagers are scheduled to show up in court on September 27.