Two California schoolboys have been arrested for plotting to murder staff and classmates in a mass shooting at their high school in Pasadena, near Los Angeles.
The boys, aged 16 and 17, planned the massacre via Skype and searched the internet for ways to acquire and use automatic weapons, knives, bulletproof vests and explosives.
They also researched how best to disarm law-enforcement officers, the South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said at a press conference on Tuesday. The plot to kill three specific staff members and multiple students at South Pasadena High School was foiled after school officials noted the teens’ suspicious behaviour and tipped off local law enforcement, who then monitored the pair’s communications. The suspects were arrested on Monday. One allegedly tried to flee police officers, who forced their way into his house. Both later admitted that they had been prepared to die while carrying out their plan.
“As they put it, they just wanted to kill as many people as possible,” Chief Miller told reporters. “They had a very specific plan on how they were going to carry out their sick mission.”
The plot was caught early in its conception and police found no weapons at the suspects’ homes, though the teens had reportedly discussed obtaining a firearm belong to one of their relatives. Chief Miller said that the parents of both boys were “stunned”.
The boys are being held on suspicion of conspiracy and criminal threats while prosecutors weigh whether or not to file criminal charges against them.
The high school, which has about 1,500 students, is scheduled to begin its new school year today. Officials said there would be an increased police presence and counsellors.