Two Florida middle school students were arrested for allegedly plotting a school mass shooting, ABC News reported. The students’ alleged plot was discovered Wednesday when a teacher at Harns Marsh Middle School, a school near Fort Myers, was tipped off about a potential concealed weapon. She informed school administrators and a resource officer about the tip, leading to a search of an eighth-grade student’s backpack. While authorities did not find a weapon, they did find a map detailing the location of cameras throughout the school. Further investigation eventually revealed that two students, ages 13 and 14, had been very interested in the 1999 Columbine massacre—which they were allegedly “extensively studying”—and planned to carry out their own attack. That led Lee County Sheriff’s deputies to search their homes, where they found a collection of various knives and guns.
The students will be charged with a conspiracy to commit a mass shooting, officials said. “This could have turned disastrous,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Thursday. “We were one second away from a Columbine here.”