Florida boys aged 13 and 14 accused of plotting Columbine-style school shooting

·1-min read
Connor Pruett, 13, (left) and Phillip Byrd, 14, were detained on Thursday  (Wink)
Connor Pruett, 13, (left) and Phillip Byrd, 14, were detained on Thursday (Wink)

Two Florida teenagers have appeared before a judge accused of planning to carry out a mass school shooting like the 1999 Columbine massacre.

Connor Pruett, 13, and Phillip Byrd, 14, were ordered to be held for 21 days in secure juvenile detention.

The boys are eighth-grade students at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres, near Fort Myers. They were detained on Thursday after a school resource officer was notified a student had a gun in his backpack.

No weapon was found, but the deputy allegedly discovered that the boys had spoken to each other during lunch about a school shooting plot. A map of the school was found that included the locations of surveillance cameras.

Police were notified and detectives found the boys had been researching the Columbine shooting, how to build a pipe bomb and how to buy guns on the black market.

Officers searched their homes and found guns, ammunition and knives.

The teenagers appeared before a judge on Sunday (WINK)
The teenagers appeared before a judge on Sunday (WINK)

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said the two were plotting a school shooting that would mirror that of Columbine in Colorado and Parkland in Florida.

He told a news conference: “This could have been the next Parkland massacre, but we stopped them in the planning stages.”

Weapons which investigators allegedly found at the students’ homes (Lee County Sheriff's)
Weapons which investigators allegedly found at the students’ homes (Lee County Sheriff's)

Byrd’s mother Carrie Tuller defended her son at yesterday’s court hearing.

“He’s just a little boy,” she said. “He didn’t think this was really serious. He didn’t think they were serious.”

Thirteen people were killed when two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before taking their lives on April 20, 1999. At the time it was America’s worst ever mass school shooting.

The Parkland massacre saw 14 high school students and three school administrators murdered at the city’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

Read More

Best pictures of the day from around the world

Conor McGregor addresses VMAs confrontation with Machine Gun Kelly

Kate Beckinsale ‘better’ after reportedly being taken to hospital

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting