Two teens were arrested in central Florida on Thursday for allegedly plotting a "Columbine-style" mass shooting, ABC News reported. The pair has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and is currently in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
According to a press release issued by the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, two male students, aged 13 and 14, were arrested on Thursday after "law enforcement and school officials learned of and intervened in a plot to initiate a mass shooting at [the Villages Charter Middle School]." The release also noted that the tip was the result of rumors spreading among students. Some witnesses told authorities that a few students had been warned not to come to school on Jan. 27, according to the sheriff's office.
On Wednesday, the 13-year-old, who allegedly planned the attack, was stopped by authorities as he arrived at school. The teen later "acknowledged conversations involving the plot" and referenced the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, which left 14 students and one teacher dead and injured 20 others.
According to the sheriff's department, as authorities spoke with the 13-year-old, they "learned of a second student's potential involvement and quickly located the 14-year-old male student on campus." The boy reportedly confirmed his "involvement in conversations" with the 13-year-old and told police that the pair had planned an attack "which included what they would use as a signal to open fire."
No weapons were found on the students, in their bags or in their lockers, though firearms were found in both students' homes after they were arrested and search warrants were served on Thursday, according to the press release.
The sheriff's office said they planned to have "an increased deputy presence at the school on Friday" but additional arrests were unlikely.